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RHINO’S HORNS by Michael Terry


by Michael Terry & illustrated by Michael Terry

Age Range: 3 - 5

Pub Date: June 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7475-5051-4
Publisher: Bloomsbury UK/Trafalgar

Another take on the hoary conflict of how one who is different and dolorous about it comes to accept the beauty of his own special qualities. The ubiquitous struggle for self-acceptance is certainly of sufficient value to mine over and over again, although not in the same way. The uniqueness of this minefield lies in its African veldt setting (Andersen’s ugly duckling as rhino) and the altruistic search for solutions other than growing out of it (the baboon as friend and makeover artist). How it plays out here: Rhino feels self-conscious about his “pointed lumps of wood,” so old-friend Baboon beautifies them first with floral arrangements, next “butterfly gardens,” then fruit centerpieces. Rhino rejects them all, dumping the material on the ground and attracting gnu, gazelle, and others with “curved horns, spiraled horns, tiny wavy elegant horns” who proclaim Rhino lucky in having such big, strong horns. Rhino feels blessed, and Baboon offers reassurance. While the story is an old one, without a really new treatment, it’s the art that attracts. Extreme close-ups of rhino and baboon, lushly drawn flowers, fruit, and accompanying insects and birds, and the silly arrangements wrapped around the horns help to enhance what is still an age-old theme. (Picture book. 3-5)