More character sketch than story, this title will feel familiar to parents of curious children.
Protagonist “Otto [is] a rhino with a LOT of questions.” Most of these questions begin with the titular query as Otto wonders about the world, making messes and causing some upset along the way. His parents are wearied by his constant questions and decide a trip to a museum might provide him with some answers. Instead, the stimulation of the museum provokes even more questions—some about exhibits, but some are about the other museumgoers. “Why does that man have such big ears?” he asks about a bespectacled rabbit. “Why is her nose so long?” he wonders when he sees a lady anteater. Such questions make others look disapprovingly at the family, but rather than guiding him to more polite behavior, his parents simply shush him. Eventually, Otto’s questions slow down because he is tired, and his parents take him home to bed. The next morning, however, he’s wide awake and ready with the question “WHY aren’t you up yet?” Sweet, cartoonish art in vibrant colors elevates the picture book’s achievement, but on the whole, this ends up seeming more like an affirmation of adult perceptions of toddler behavior than a story for toddlers themselves.
Look for a different title to entertain, rather than impersonate, young readers. (Picture book. 3-5)