Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Our favourite picture books about Rhinos




We are having a bit of a rhino picture book theme at our house at the moment, so I thought I would share some of our favourites with you. Here are 8 fabulous picture books about Rhinoceros:

Rhino? What Rhino?


Rhino? What Rhino? by Caryl Hart and Sarah Horne

Rhino is bored and lonely in the zoo, so he decides to escape and leaves a trail of mess and destruction. The poor farm animals end up being blamed for his mess. When they try to explain that it was a rhino, no one believes them. The animals soon get fed up with being blamed for the rhino's bad manners and they decide to teach him a lesson or two! 

This lovely rhyming story is a pleasure to read aloud and the illustrations are bright and fabulously quirky.

Book Details:
Title: Rhino? What Rhino?
Author: Caryl Hart
Illustrator: Sarah Horne
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 9780340981399

Rita's Rhino


Rita's Rhino by Tony Ross


Rita desperately wants a pet of her own but her mum will only let her get a small pet, like a flea or even a frog. This will not do at all! Rita wants a REAL pet so she goes to the zoo to find a herself one. That's when she meets the rhinoceros and soon the rhino is going home with Rita. It's not long until Rita finds out that having a rhino as a pet is not as easy as she thought.

This is a truly funny story about the challenges and responsibility of pet ownership and the importance of choosing the right pet for your family. Full of silliness and fun, you will be laughing all the way through this book

Book Details:
Title: Rita's Rhino
Author/Illustrator: Tony Ross
Publisher: Koala Books
Publication Date: December 2014
ISBN: 978174261183

Rhino Neil


Rhino Neil by Mini Goss

Rhino Neil lives with lots of different animals in the safari zoo, but he is a very lonely rhinoceros. Neil is so big that all the other animals are frightened of him and stay away. One day a big truck arrives at the zoo and an even bigger animal called Tuscany moves into the zoo. While all the other animals run away from the new resident, Neil stays and finally makes a friend.

Rhino Neil is a lovely picture book with an important message about differences, intolerance and friendship. The illustrations are delightfully warm and the facial expressions of the animals are fabulous.

Book Details:
Title: Rhino Neil
Author/Illustrator: Mini Goss
Publisher: New Frontier Publishing
Publication Date: 2007
ISBN: 9781921042904

Rhinos Don't Eat Pancakes


Rhinos don't eat pancakes by Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie

Daisy sees something strange while eating her breakfast, a big purple rhinoceros. She tries to tell her mum and dad but they are way too busy to listen. Since they won't listen to her, Daisy starts talking to the rhino instead and they soon become good friends. Daisy's parents still don't believe there is a Rhino in the house, so they take her to the zoo to see a real rhino. When they arrive at the Rhino enclosure, they only find a poster saying the purple rhino is missing. Finally they realise that Daisy was telling the truth and rush home to see the Rhino.

A beautiful and funny story about friendship and a poignant reminder for parents to take the time to listen to their children. You never know what they are going to tell you. Ogilvie's illustrations are simply charming.

Book Details:
Title: Rhinos Don't Eat Pancakes
Author: Anna Kemp
Illustrator: Sara Ogilvie
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: 2011
ISBN: 9781874388780

Preposterous Rhinoceros


Preposterous Rhinoceros by Tracy Gunaratnam and Marta Costa


All the animals are waiting for their bedtime story but King Lion has lost his voice and cannot read to them. Salamander can read, but he is too shy, so Rhinoceros volunteers. Rhinoceros doesn't really know anything about books or reading. So he seeks some advice from his friends. Unfortunately he takes this advice a little too literally and ends up in all sorts of preposterous situations. Finally Shy Salamander gets Rhinoceros' attention and helps him learn to read. Learning to read is a little tricky at first but it's not long before Rhinoceros gets the hang of it and realises that words are magic!

This is such a clever and very funny story about learning to read and it  would be ideal for young children learning to read themselves.

Book Details:
Title: Preposterous Rhinoceros
Author: Tracy Gunaratnam
Illustrator: Marta Costa
Publisher: Maverick Arts Publishing
Publication Date: January 2015
ISBN: 9781848861657

Chief Rhino to the Rescue


Chief Rhino to the Rescue by Sam Lloyd

Chief Rhino is one of the bravest animals in Whoops-a-Daisy World. When he spots a fire, he knows it's time to save the day. He and his fire-fighting team rush to the fire, climb the ladder and spray the fire with water. Unfortunately the fire is not what they thought and it was just the flames of 100 candles on Great Granny Wrinkle's birthday cake. Chief Rhino has made a silly mistake but Great Granny Wrinkle reassures him and they all join the birthday party. 


Chief Rhino To the Rescue is a picture book that has been on our bookshelf for a very long time and was very popular with James when he was younger and we all still enjoy reading it. The illustrations are bright and full of fabulous little details. One of my favourite things about this book are the endpapers, which includes a lovely letter to Chief Rhino from Great Granny Wrinkle. Just so adorable.

Book Details: 
Title: Chief Rhino to the Rescue
Author/Illustrator: Sam Lloyd
Publisher: Orchard Books
Publication Date: 2008
ISBN: 9781846169410

The Really Rude Rhino


The Really Rude Rhino by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross

Once there was a really rude rhino. He was rude from the day he was born and was rude from morning until night. While many animals said he would grow out of it, his mother began to worry and took him to the doctor. He was diagnosed with Ruditis Rhinoceritis, which unfortunately had no cure. However, just after his fifth birthday, Rhino went down to the waterhole, and what he found there shocked him so much that he ran all the way home. He was never rude to anyone every again.

This is a really fun story and, as you can imagine, the children love all the rude noises. The illustrations are hilarious too and are a perfect match to the story.

Book Details:

Title: The Really Rude Rhino
Author: Jeanne Willis
Illustrator: Tony Ross
Publisher: Anderson Press
Publication Date: 2006
ISBN: 9781842702789

Running Rhino


Running Rhino by Mwenye Hadithi and Adrienne Kennaway

Rhino lives on the Great African Plain with the other animals. Rhino is very short sighted and runs after anything that moves and all the animals had to run to get out of his way. The animals were fed up with Rhino's behaviour, but it seemed like no one was prepared to challenge him. Finally little Tickbird challenged Rhino. If Tickbird won the challenge, Rhino would have to stop running and live on the stoney slopes. If Rhino won, he would "run and run even more".

At sunrise the next morning, the little Tickbird challenges Rhino with the help of three even smaller friends and wins! Rhino stomps off to live on the Stoney Slopes but Tickbird kindly goes with him on his back to always warn him of danger. So when Rhino wants to run at something that moves Tickbird gives Rhino a little peck which helps to calm Rhino down. 

This is a lovely story about how the Rhino and Tickbird become friends. The illustrations of the African animals by Adrienne Kennaway are beautiful and full of bright colours. I especially like the end papers.

Book Details:
Title: Running Rhino
Author: Mwenye Hadithi 
Illustrator: Adrienne Kennaway
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 9780340989371

I hope you enjoyed our little collection of picture books featuring Rhinoceros. Have I missed any? Do you or your kids have a favourite Rhino book? 

You might also like our rhinoceros finger puppets:


Simple Felt Rhinoceros Finger Puppets

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Picture Book Review: Rita's Rhino by Tony Ross


Picture Book Review of Rita's Rhinoceros by Tony Ross


Today we read Rita's Rhino by Tony Ross. Rita desperately wants a pet of her own but her mum will only let her get a small pet, like a flea or even a frog. This will not do at all! Rita wants a REAL pet she decides to take matters into her own hands and goes to the zoo to find a herself a pet. That's when she meets the rhinoceros. Rita asks if the rhino would like to come home with her and he says "Yes, please."

Rita soon finds out that having a rhino as a pet is not as easy as she thought. Trying to squeeze the rhino into the elevator was a a bit tricky and hiding a rhino in the bedroom of a small apartment was not easy either. Feeding a rhino proved to be another challenge as he only likes to eat special grass from Africa and it is very expensive. Then there is the unpleasant job of hiding the piles of rhinoceros poo every day!

Hiding rhinoceros poo. Illustration from Rita's Rhino by Tony Ross

While the rhinoceros loved Rita, it was not was working out as well as he expected either. He missed the special grass from Africa and his comfy bed at the zoo. When the children at Rita's school mistake him for a bouncy castle and started jumping all over him, enough is enough and he crept back to the zoo.

Illustration from Rita's Rhino by Tony Ross

This is a very funny story about the joy and the challenges of pet ownership. With it's gentle ending, Rita's Rhino is a wonderful picture book to encourage discussion about pet ownership and the importance of making sure you choose the right pet, not just for you but for the animal as well. Owning a pet is a big responsibility and choosing the right pet crucial.

We loved the silliness of the story, especially how the rhino is able to squeeze through the bars of his cage to escape and that all it took to disguise such a large animal from the zookeepers was a hat and a coat. We were laughing all the way through the story.

Tony Ross' illustrations are just as hilarious as the story itself and they complement each other perfectly. 

Book Details:
Title: Rita's Rhino
Author/Illustrator: Tony Ross
Publisher: Koala Books, an imprint of Scholastic.
Publication Date: December 2014
ISBN: 9781742761183
RRP: $14.99

Have you ever owned a pet that was more difficult to look after than you expected?

Following the Rhino theme, you might also like our review of Preposterous Rhinoceros:


Preposterous Rhinoceros

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you keep updated via our monthly newsletter or social media:





Disclosure: I was provided with a review copy of this book by the publisher. My opinions, as always, are my own.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Picture Book Review and Craft: Preposterous Rhinoceros by Tracy Gunaratnam


It's a disaster! All the animals are waiting for their bedtime story but King Lion has lost his voice and cannot read to them. Salamander can read, but he is too shy, so Rhinoceros volunteers. Unfortunately Rhinoceros doesn't really know anything about books or reading. So he seeks some advice from his friends.
"Just open it and dive straight in"
Rhinoceros takes this advice a little too literally and with swimming goggles on, poor Rhinoceros tries to dive into the book and lands with a crash. Toucan's advice about getting stuck in, doesn't help much either. 

Finally Shy Salamander gets Rhinoceros' attention and helps him learn to read. Reading is a little tricky at first but it's not long before Rhinoceros realises that words are magic. Now that he knows how to read will he get a change to read the bedtime story to the rest of the animals now that King Lion's throat is feeling better?
My kids thought the story was hilarious with all the misunderstandings and preposterous situations Rhinoceros finds himself in, especially when he tries to get stuck in the book using honey. This is such a clever story about learning to read and it  would be ideal for young children learning to read themselves.

There was lots of giggling as we read this story and the illustrations by Marta Costa are bright and colourful and definitely just as funny.

If you like to buy Preposterous Rhinoceros by Tracy Gunaratnam you can find it at Dymocks here in Australia or online.

Book Details:
Title: Preposterous Rhinoceros
Author: Tracy Gunaratnam
Illustrator: Marta Costa
Publisher: Maverick Arts Publishing
Publication Date: Jan 2105
ISBN: 9781848861657

Now that we are back at school I have been setting up some quick craft activities for the kids for when they get home.  On Friday we made our own rhino finger puppets just like Preposterous Rhinoceros.

I drew a rhino template for them and they set to work gluing on a googly eye and colouring them in. I am not sure it looks much like a rhino but the kids seemed to be happy with it and that's all that matters isn't it?


Rhino finger puppet template

Emily decided to make hers a rainbow rhino and James coloured his all blue.



We had lots of fun playing with our rhinos and Emily even put on a puppet show for us. We discovered her rainbow rhino not only loves to read but loves to sing too!



I think they turned out pretty fabulous and filled our afternoon with fun.



Using the same template and with hot glue gun in hand, I created a felt version of the finger puppet to add to our collection.



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Disclosure: I was provided with a review copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions, as always, are my own.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Picture Book Review and Craft: The Four Little Pigs

The Four Little Pigs by Kimara Nye and Marcin Bruchnalski

Tom's Granny is no ordinary grandmother, she's a witch with a magic broomstick and pointy hat too. At bedtime Granny is going to read Tom the story of the three little pigs. Tom knows this story and thinks it's boring, so Granny decides to make it a little more interesting for him. She uses a magic spell to make him part of the story too!


"Transport Tom with this magic spell into the story he knows so well."
Illustration from The Four Little Pigs by Kimara Nye

Tom, knowing the story so well, realises that the big bad wolf is on his way to blow down the little pigs' houses and decides to do something about it. With Tom helping out the little pigs, the poor wolf certainly has a hard time.

Both of my kids really enjoyed this picture book. They know the original story of the three little pigs so well, which meant they were able to enjoy the differences and twists in the story. There is quite a lot of text in this story, but it certainly does not detract from it. 

The illustrations by Bruchnalski are bold and full of colour. Tom's little pig snout once he is in the story is just adorable. 


Illustration from The Four Little Pigs by Kimara Nye

After reading The Four Little Pigs we also had a wonderful conversation about what other stories we would like to become a part of. 

Book Details:
Title: The Four Little Pigs
Author: Kimara Nye
Illustrator: Marcin Bruchnalski
Publication Date: Jan 2015
Publisher: Maverick Arts Publishing 
ISBN: 9781848861640

You can buy a copy of The Four Little Pigs from Dymocks.

For a super quick and easy craft to go with this book, we made our own little pig snouts, so we could look just like Tom when he became part of the story.


Super easy egg carton pig snout

Using an egg carton and lots of pink paint we made our snouts. They are super easy to make. All you need to do is cut out one egg cup from your egg carton and paint it pink. 


Use an egg carton to create a pig snout

Once dry, use the marker to draw on the two nostrils. Punch two holes on either side of the egg cup so that you can attach some string or elastic. Then tie it on and make some piggie noises. Oink! Oink!


Super easy pig snout


If you had the chance, what book would you like to become part of?


We are linking up to the Kids Co-Op Linky Party and the Kid Lit Blog Hop.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy of this picture book by the publisher. I was not obligated to write a review. My opinions, as always, are my own.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Storytime with author Emma Allen

Today we were lucky enough to attend Storytime with author, Emma Allen, which was hosted by one of our favourite bookshops, Harry Hartog. 

Emma was so wonderful and even brought along her three gorgeous children to help out with reading her books. It was certainly a lovely way to spend an afternoon.


Storytime with Emma Allen


Emma is the author of The Terrible Suitcase and Grandma, the Baby and Me and she read both books for us today.

The Terrible Suitcase


The Terrible Suitcase by Emma Allen and Freya Blackwood

It's the first day of school and a young girl has her heart set on a backpack with a yellow rocket on it, but she is given the terrible suitcase instead, and she is not happy about it.
"Because I got a terrible suitcase for my going-to-school present instead of the red backpack with yellow rockets and a silver zipper, I was mad. MAD, mad!"
She had been looking forward to the first day of school for so long but it was not turning out how she expected. Everyone at school had cool backpacks and all she had was the terrible red suitcase.

Once in class the young girl, who loves space and rockets, sits in Imagination Corner and pretends to zoom around the moon in her box rocket. It's not long before other children in the class join her and the terrible red suitcase becomes a toolkit and then a computer on the rocket, helping them on their space adventure. The terrible suitcase many not be as terrible as she once thought.
are

A heartwarming story about the first day of school and how seemingly small things can cause a great deal of drama for a young child. The tantrums and grumpiness of the girl was certainly typical of children of that age (or is that just my kids?). I love the use of imagination and imaginative play and it's power in helping to make the best of a challenging situation.

Freya Blackwood's watercolour illustrations are fabulous, as always, and are a perfect match to Emma's story.

Book Details:
Title: The Terrible Suitcase
Author: Emma Allen
Illustrator: Freya Blackwood
Publication Date: 2012
Publisher: Omnibus Books, an imprint of Scholastic
ISBN: 97881862919624
Awards: 2013 CBCA Book of the Year: Early Childhood

Grandma, the Baby and Me


Grandma, the Baby and Me by Emma Allen and Hannah Sommerville

Welcoming a new baby into the family is an exciting time, but it can also be a challenging one too, especially for siblings. 

When Henry's parents bring home the new baby, Grandma gives him a wink and says 'Here's trouble.' He wondered what she meant, but it's not long before he finds out. The baby seems to cry all the time and it is turning his life upside down. The worst part is that he has to wear his sister's pink pyjamas because Mum didn't get the clothes off the line before it rained.

Emma Allen perfectly portrays the realistic reactions and variety of emotions that children experience during such a time of upheaval in the home. A beautiful story that will no doubt help expecting parents and their children to chat about their own feelings and expectations. The story also highlights the importance of having someone special in your life, like Grandma, that understands you, that you can trust and gives good hugs.

Hannah Sommerville's gentle watercolour illustrations perfectly complement this heartwarming story. 

Book Details:
Title: Grandma, the Baby and Me
Author: Emma Allen
Illustrator: Hannah Sommerville
Publication Date: Sept 2014
Publisher: Omnibus Books, an Imprint of Scholastic
ISBN: 9781892918733

Thank you for signing our copy of The Terrible Suitcase Emma.


Our copy of The Terrible Suitcase signed by the Author

Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy of Grandma, the Baby and Me by the publisher. My opinions, as always are my own.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Picture Book Review: Duelgum and Salt Dough Eels

Duelgum by Uncle Joe Kirk and illustrated by Sandi Harrold

Duelgum: The story of the mother eel by Uncle Joe Kirk and Greer Casey and illustrated by Sandi Harrold is heart-warming Indigenous Australian story about a mother eel who makes the long journey from her cosy home in the waterhole out to sea, to lay her eggs.


Duelgum knew her nose would lead her in the right direction.

The eggs hatch and during the next year, the baby eels slowly make their way from the sea back to the river where there mother began her journey. The tiny eels looked like little silver fish and during their trip they grow bigger and change to a greenish colour and then light brown, which helps them to camouflage in the water. They finally reach the cosy waterhole where they will live happily until it is their time to return to the sea.

Sandi Harrold's illustrations beautifully depict the waterholes with their green murky waters, as well as the vibrant blues of the ocean. 

Duelgum is a lovely story that is also fun to read aloud too. It is filled with lots of verbs, describing the variety of actions of the eels on their journey and we had fun being eels too. There was lots of slithering, which was certainly a sight to see. 

Uncle Joe Kirk is an elder of the Wakka Wakka people in the Brisbane area and as a young boy he would watch the mother eels going down the Brisbane river. The eel plays an important role in the Wakka Wakka culture and is a spiritual totem. Duelgum is about belonging, when you return to your mob and homeland.

Book Details
Author: Uncle Joe Kirk with Greer Casey and Sandi Harrold
Illustrator: Sandi Harrold
Publisher: Scholastic Australia
Publication Date: January 2015
ISBN: 9781743623114
RRP: $15.99

We are enjoying a very relaxed school holidays and we have been doing a lot of craft together. Inspired by Duelgum, we made our own salt dough eels.  

Salt Dough Eels

We used Rainy Day Mum's Quickest Salt Dough Recipe.

We rolled our salt dough into eel shapes (which also happen to look very much like snakes) We added little fins on some of them, to make them look more like eels.

Shaping our salt dough into eels

Once we were happy with the shape of our eels, we heated them in the microwave to harden them. I have to admit that it took a long time to harden them in the microwave as they were so thick, so I think I will just do it in the oven next time.

Painting our salt dough eels

We then painted them, glue on some eyes and used Mod Podge to make them shiny, just like Duelgum.
When the morning sun shone down, Duelgum looked like a shining rainbow as the rays bounced off her shimmering skin.

To finish them off we added some googly eyes.

Salt dough eels

Salt dough eels

They look great and it was a perfect school holiday project, especially with all the rain we have been having lately. I'm not sure what we are going to do with all these little eels but I'm sure we will think of something.


Picture book review of Duelgum and salt dough eels

You might also like our review of Karana, which is also by Uncle Joe Kirk.

Karana by Uncle Joe Kirk


If you enjoyed this post, keep updated via our monthly newsletter or social media:



Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy of this book. My opinions are, as always, my own.
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