Having a couple of 'rude' children in my Year 2 class, I searched high and low for a short story that would deal with rudeness and the importance of being polite and well-mannered.
I came across this book and the title suggested the appropriateness of this for a short PSHE circle time session but I was not totally overwhelmed by it...........more on this later!
- The author, Jeanne Willis -
Jeanne Willis is a prolific writer of children's picture books and books for older, independent readers. She has also written for television and video companies.
Other books by this author include:
* Dozy Mare
* Stephanie Smiled
* Brought up by Teddybears
- The illustrator, Tony Ross -
Tony Ross went to Liverpool's School of Art and is a prolific writer and illustrator of children's picture books. He has illustrated for many authors such as Roald Dahl and Michael Palin.
The books listed below all deal with social and emotional areas of childhood learning and are a great resource to use with children dealing with any of the issues:
I want my Mum
I want a sister
I want my dinner
I don't want to wash my hands
I want to be .....
I have to admit that I got this book from the library on the basis of Tony Ross' name on the front as I have always been pleased with his picture books, having never come across any of Jeane Willis' books.
The two have however combined on other works for children, the Dr Xargle books.
- The Really Rude Rhino -
This is about a rhino that is ever so rude from the day he was born, forever blowing raspberries and sticking his tongue out at all of his family and even daring to be rude to his grandma, his teacher, the Queen and EVEN Santa Claus!
On each ocassion that someone asked him something he thought it funny to go 'pthhhhhhhhh! A tad tiresome and annoying from my point of view.
Everyone said that he would grow out of it but he didn't so his Mum took him to the doctor where he was diagnosed as having 'Ruditis Rhinoceritis' for which there was absolutely no cure!
Or so the doctor thought, until............just after his 5th birthday the annoying little menace sets off on his own despite the warning from his Mum, not to go down to the waterhole.
Ignoring his Mum he ventures down to the waterhole and spotted a girl eating a watermelon very politely. The rhino charged at the girl wanting to scare her and get the watermelon for himself.
However he is stopped mid-charge by the little girl going, 'pthhhhhhhhh!' at him and blowing a huge raspberry. He ran all the way back home and was never rude to anyone again!
~ Ilustrations ~
I have always enjoyed Tony Ross' illustrations and this is no exception. He captures the sheer rudeness and obnoxiousness of the little rhino as he blows raspberries and even bares his bum....... terribly rude!
The illustrations are sometimes cartoon-like and have a chalkiness to them. Rich colours appeal to young children.
~ My Verdict ~
I have usually found that books featuring animals appeal to children and this is no exception.
The children I have read this to love the naughtiness and daring of the rhino and it has been a good conversation point. However it is important to point out to the children that this really isn't the behaviour that pleasant little boys and girls should aim to copy.
Nonetheless, the children enjoy the fun element of it and enjoy blowing the raspberries with the rhino, as long as they are made aware that this is only acceptable when joining in with the book and certainly no bare bums!
There is a little moral to the story, in terms of not being rude but the rhino only learns his lesson when the girl blows a raspberry back at him, which in my experience wouldn't scare such an annoying and strong-willed little rhino or child!
- Price -
The paperback retails at £5.99 and the hardcover at £10.99.
I certainly wouldn't persuade you to part with your cash at full price for this book but amazon are selling paperbacks from £1.84 and hardcovers from £3.92
Better still, take a trip to your local library to see if you like it. It certainly isn't one of my favourite children's books but it's adequate!
Author: Jeanne Willis
Illustrator: Tony Ross
Publisher: Anderson Press
Publish Date: February 2006
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Age Suitability: 3-5
RRP: £5.99 (I got it as a 3 for 2 deal from ELC)
At my two year old son's insistence, I took him into town this weekend to buy him a new book. We went into the Early Learning Centre First where there was a 3 for 2 deal on. My son picked up The Really Rude Rhino to which I added two other titles which appealed to the sensible mum in me a little bit more.
Having scanned through the book on the drive home, I grew increasingly happy I had bought the other two books as well.
***Who is Jeanne Willis?***
I have to admit to having not heard of Jeanne Willis before but having done my research, I realise she is front runner in the world of Children's stories from picture books up to teen novels.
Jeanne graduated from Watford College where she studied to be an advertising copywriter. She worked for two London based agencies and at the age of 21 had her first book published by Anderson Press. By the time she was 26, Jeanne quite the advertising business to focus on writing children's stories as well as TV scripts for a variety of children's programmes.
To date, Jeanne Willis has had over 80 titles published and in 2004 was short-listed for the Whitbread award for her teen novel Naked without a flat.
Other picture books Jeanne has written include, Gorilla Gorilla, Tadpole's Promise, and I hate School.
***Who is Tony Ross?***
Born in London in 1938, Tony Ross studied at Liverpool College of Art before becoming Arts Director for a prominent advertising agency. He soon left the industry to pursue a career in teaching at which time he supplemented his income with cartoons drawn for a variety of magazines including Punch.
Ross can count books by Roald Dahl, Paula Danziger and Michael Palin amongst others as works he has illustrated. In addition to illustrating the works of other authors, Ross has gone on to write his own stories as well such as Hugo and the Man who Stole Colours, Hugo and Oddsock, Naughty Nigel and the popular I want my Potty.
***What's it all about?***
Little Rhino is born a very rude baby rhino and although family and those around him keep reassuring his parents that he will grow out of it, he continues to be rude to everyone he comes across. He is particularly partial to blowing raspberries, sticking his tongue out and waving his naked bum at people. By all accounts, little rhino appears to have no respect for others at all and in fact enjoys being rude immensely.
The doctor has diagnosed Little Rhino with an incurable condition and the parents accept defeat. It is at that point little Rhino goes out one evening intent on being unnecessarily rude. He comes across a little girl sitting by a river eating watermelon and decides to be rude enough to her as to cause her to run away leaving the watermelon for him to enjoy. His plan backfires when the little girl turns the tables and sticks her tongue out to blow the biggest and baddest of raspberries at Little Rhino. Of course, Rhino runs off mortified and is never rude again.
***So how did I find the story?***
Despite really trying, I could not find any redeeming value to this story. I imagine the point of it is for children to appreciate the need to be polite and courteous however, this point was entirely missed. Instead, I think this book will encourage kids to take on Little Rhino's traits at an age when parents are already trying to combat bad habits from forming and to instil a positive and courteous attitude into our children.
I also found the end of the story a bit disturbing. I don't want my son to grow up thinking that the way to combat a problem is by giving it back in double. You can't always fight fire with fire and I dread the thought of my son thinking that is always the answer.
I found the writing fairly boring as almost each page started with "Ppppttthhhhhppppttt!" or some similar rude noise. There was no challenge or imagination which I thought would engage a child past the novelty stage of the funny noises.
***So were the pictures good?***
Not really. They matched the story well in their crudeness. The illustrations were done more in a sort of scribbled/ sketching style. The front cover show an image Little Rhino bending over bearing his bum to the reader - hardly the warm and fuzzy image you expect to find. This theme of nastiness continues through to show more bum shots, and roughly drawn sketches of him sticking his tongue out at wretched relatives.
There is little detail and the individual characters are often not in context with any background scenery but instead just hover over or below the text.
Perhaps the harshness of the story could have been softened slightly with more carefully thought out illustrations.
***And all in all was it worth the money?***
I choose to think of this as the book I got for free with my 3 for 2 deal which makes me feel a bit better about having bought it. To be honest I found this to be a totally irrelevant children's book and one I would happily loose track of. Having said that, children will love it as Little Rhino does all the things they are discouraged from doing. Kids love the idea of being naughty and this book allows them that freedom without the consequences.
If you are prepared to spend the next few months with your children making faces and horrid noises at people in the street then perhaps you will get more out of this than I did. My verdict? Ppppttthhhhhppppttt!!!
Little Rhino is rude to everyone, and has been since the day he was born. He sticks his tongue out, he makes rude noises and he waves his bottom at anyone in front of him, with no respect for person or place. Until, that is, he meets his match with someone who is prepared to treat him the same way!