A little rhino gets his comeuppance after gleefully disrupting everyone else’s day.
“There was once a little rhino / (who was really rather large) / and from the day that he was born, / he bellowed, ‘I’m in charge!’ ” The big-but-little rhino leans fetchingly against a rock, backgrounded by a gold-and-blue African veldt. A meerkat perches nearby, staring at the rhino. The art is a striking mixed-media collage that holds readers’ attention with bright palette changes at every page turn. Each of the stylized animals is comical yet also clearly represents its species. Clever, singsong rhymes emphasize the little rhino’s naughty behavior and use plenty of humorous, descriptive alliteration; for example, Rhino has a “darling daddy,” a “muddy mother,” and “feisty feet.” After Rhino has plagued everyone—his parents, Warthog, Giraffe, all the meerkats, Baboon, and Elephant—his final act of disobedience is denying Pygmy Mouse a bite of mango. Rhino’s use of “la la la” to ignore the mouse’s warnings about impending disaster is especially funny. He continues to shout about being in charge until a stampede of wildebeests—beautifully resembling French cave art—almost causes his demise. The familiarity of Rhino’s self-absorbed, controlling behavior and the predictable, satisfying end make this a good choice for the youngest listeners.
The “terrible twos” come alive at the savanna watering hole. (Picture book. 2-5)