Kirkus Reviews QR Code
RHINO, RHINO, SWEET POTATO by Francine Prose

RHINO, RHINO, SWEET POTATO

By Francine Prose (Author) , Matthew S. Armstrong (Illustrator)

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: May 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-06-008078-5
Publisher: HarperCollins

In this cheerful, old-fashioned town, sweet potatoes are the crop of choice. They form the basis for every recipe and have even inspired a nonsense song and given the quaint village its name. Why? Who knows. For the same reason, one supposes, that a herd of hostile rhinoceroses just happens to live across the river. When the hungry animals invade the town and tear up the fields, one small, plucky boy speaks up against the villagers’ plan to exterminate the rhinos. Singlehandedly, he succeeds in teaching the beasts how to cultivate their own crop, writing a new song and even developing a friendship with a baby rhino in the process. Prompting another question: So what? Prose’s (occasionally clunky) rhyming text describes the deliberately outlandish situation clearly, while Armstrong’s brightly colored and humorously exaggerated illustrations do their best to carry the slight tale. Unfortunately, unless young listeners have a particular fondness for either the animal or the tuber of the title there’s just not much here to capture their interest. Odd and entirely forgettable. (Picture book. 3-6)