The Secret Rhino Society
The Secret Rhino Society

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Annotation: “This engaging romp will be a great way to initiate conversations about diversity, tolerance, and acceptance.”—Booklist ... more
Catalog Number: #219713
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Hot Title Hot Title
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 1-534-43000-8 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-8412-6
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-534-43000-6 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-8412-2
Dewey: E
Language: English
Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
Three friends learn that imitation isn’t the best way to demonstrate appreciation.Fran, a white earthworm, Hudson, a gray hippo, and Jean, a smiling, hovering white light bulb, have “one thing in common”: Each wants to be a rhinoceros. They admire rhinoceroses for distinct reasons, which seem to reflect qualities they feel they lack themselves: For example, petite Fran appreciates rhinoceroses’ intimidating aspect. The friends form a secret rhinoceros-appreciation society, at which they all wear paper horns—but their celebration faces a challenge when they meet Ivy, a pale gray rhinoceros who doesn’t know how to charge, snort, or sharpen her horns. She’s a gardener, she explains. However, she does recognize that the group has more to offer than their perceived shortcomings, and, with her encouragement, the Secret Rhino Society transforms their clubhouse into a space—a delightful sandwich shop—that welcomes all. Cotterill’s delicate yet exuberant hand-built three-dimensional cardboard illustrations are a perfect foil to the book’s theme of navigating expectations and assumptions about others. Unfortunately, the text itself is underwhelming, and the book’s premise falls short of its potential. The abrupt shift from rhinoceros-appreciation-bordering-on-appropriation to selling sandwiches (especially to nameless characters who appear only in the final spread) makes for a less-successful narrative arc than the title and artwork have promised. Nevertheless, it could help kick-start conversations about stereotypes.A sweet but somewhat-flimsy visual treat. (Picture book. 4-8)
Publishers Weekly
In debut author Jacobs-s story, Hudson the hippo, Fran the earthworm, and Jean the light bulb have a major thing for rhinos: they regard one at a movie theater, form a society, and erect a ramshackle clubhouse where they gather wearing paper horns. In photographed three-dimensional scenes, drawn and assembled by hand, Cotterill (This Beach Is Loud!) both conveys her protagonists- giddy enthusiasm and immerses readers in settings where the trio gathers to share and nurture their passion. The impressive theater appears replete with balconies, rows of red seats, and a proscenium stage; the house is packed with diverting textiles. The story reaches beyond a celebration of fandom in its second half, when the group meets a real live rhino named Ivy, a brightly dressed gardener who doesn-t charge, snort, or sharpen her horns. -You are just not what we expected a rhinoceros to be,- a flummoxed Hudson tells her, to which Ivy smartly rejoins: -I-m sorry you-re disappointed.- The sweet wrap-up feels somewhat off-course, involving a new group endeavor, but the story-s point is well made: it-s not up to a member of a group (or
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2 A hippo, a worm, and a sentient light bulb grapple with upended expectations in this quirky tale. Each member of the unique trio wishes to be a rhinocerosbased on their own assumptions of that animal's virtuesand they are all surprised when they meet a real rhino who behaves unlike their imagined object of admiration. Jacobs's narrative of friendship and expectations feels both specific and disjointed at the same time, with offbeat details standing in for a thin plot. The book's charm derives primarily from Cotterill's crafty illustrations: hand-drawn figures photographed within cozy, 3-D sets. These detailed dioramas, replete with floral flourishes and rhino patterns, attract the reader's eye but often prove more inviting than the characters being illustrated. VERDICT Ultimately, the story lacks heft and coherence, delivering pleasant moments without enough substance or humor to justify joining the club. Robbin E. Friedman, Chappaqua Library, NY
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* This wonderfully witty tale features three best friends: Hudson, a hippo; Fran, a worm; and Jean, a gender-neutral lightbulb who prefers the pronoun they. All three are fascinated by rhinoceroses. Hudson admires their speed, Fran finds them delightfully intimidating, and Jean is impressed with their sturdy, "unbreakable" horns. Imagine their surprise when there's a knock on their secret rhino admiration society clubhouse door, and there stands an actual rhinoceros! Hudson puts in a request for a charging demonstration, or perhaps some snorting, or maybe some horn-sharpening tips. The rather puzzled rhino, Ivy, explains that she's come from the garden shop and is delivering a load of plants. The three friends regroup and invite Ivy in for "cheese and pickle sandwiches." Ivy thoroughly enjoys her snack and suggests that the trio open up a sandwich shop. And they do! Hudson creates a menu, Fran works on recipes, Jean takes care of mood lighting, and Ivy is in charge of landscaping. The amazing illustrations (hand-built 3-D sets on painted cardboard) perfectly complement the offbeat humor and gentle nudges about avoiding stereotypes and expected behaviors. This engaging romp will be a great way to initiate conversations about diversity, tolerance, and acceptance.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (4/1/20)
ALA Booklist (4/1/20)
Horn Book (4/1/20)
Kirkus Reviews (4/1/20)
Publishers Weekly (4/1/20)
School Library Journal (4/1/20)
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: P-2
Lexile: AD560L

“This engaging romp will be a great way to initiate conversations about diversity, tolerance, and acceptance.”—Booklist (starred review)

In the spirit of favorites like Stick & Stone and Spoon this warmhearted and hilarious picture book tells the story of a highly unusual group of friends and is stunningly illustrated by Samantha Cotterill.

Meet Hudson, a hippo. Fran, an earthworm. And Jean, a lightbulb.

They have one thing in common: a profound appreciation for rhinos. So, they form a Secret Rhino Appreciation Society, in which a key activity it wearing paper horns. (Sometimes this results in a fire. That’s what happens when a lightbulb wears a paper horn.) But when they meet their first real, live rhino and ask her to do rhino-y things, she doesn’t want to charge or snort—she’s a gardener! She is not what the society expected, but can they learn to appreciate her for who she is?

This funny, character-driven story explores themes of friendship, expectations, and prejudice.


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