The evening and bedtime routines of three rhinos involve lots of intervention from an exasperated mother.
“One little rhino in a mood. / Two little rhinos acting rude. / Three little rhinos tussling, fighting. // Mama rhino cries, / No biting!” The evening squabbles continue through dinnertime, a bath, drying off, and brushing teeth. But when a tired Mama enjoins them, “Here’s a kiss and here’s a song… / And when you wake, please get along!” the three band together to give her some love before all fall asleep. Since Anderson favors double-page spreads over vignettes, it can be difficult for readers to pick out and count the rhinos to match the text, and this sometimes also results in the pictures not matching the rhymes at all. When Anderson shows the baby rhino in a highchair gleefully throwing food and the two older siblings on the opposite page, it is clear that the two have left their places, but the three are not butting heads as the rhyme says. Mama rhino sports a double piercing in her ear and pearls around her massive, wrinkly neck, while one child has bows on head and tail. While the rhymes and cadence may remind more than one reader of Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama, few will return for repeat outings with this trio; they lack the characterization and personality of the beloved camelid, and the illustrations just don’t do this tale justice.
A rhino-miss. (Picture book. 3-6)