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Hippo! No, Rhino

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this near-wordless book, a sky-blue rhinoceros gets mistaken for another sort of beast. The trouble starts when a groovy long-haired zookeeper, idly whistling and blas about his job, designates the rhino's stone enclosure with a red arrow reading "Hippo." The rhino, and two leggy purple birds on its shoulder, regard the sign with chagrin. When a society matron, in a dialogue bubble, pinches her nose and says "Hippo," the rhinoceros cries, "No, rhino!/ Fix the sign-o!" Its outbursts scare off several visitors, and the tiny birds fail in their attempt to knock down the sign. Finally a sympathetic boy in a sunny yellow coat-who has noticed the zookeeper's carelessness since the copyright page-quietly sets things right, and the rhino and birds can finally relax. (In the punch line, readers find out the lackadaisical keeper has labeled the unhappy hippopotamus "Porcupine-o.") Newman's (Reginald) full-bleed watercolor spreads emit a '70s retro vibe, with animals and humans pictured in a rainbow of hot colors on clear white pages. His saturated hues of rusty orange, violet, turf green and aquamarine suggest Eric Carle's tissue-paper palette and layering technique. Newman takes the single joke as far as it will go, and youngsters will enjoy being in on it from the beginning. Ages 3-6. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This clever picture book is a perfect example of a humorous, creative story told almost all in pictures. When a dim-witted zoo employee puts up a sign reading "Hippo" in front of the rhinoceros exhibit, zoo visitors pass by without recognizing the mistake. Each time someone points and says, "Hippo!" the rhinoceros tries to vain to tell people he is not a hippo, though of course nobody can understand him. In his frustration to set people straight, the rhino scares away the visitors who stop to admire him and take his picture. Even the birds that perch on his back try to help by knocking the sign over, but to no avail. Eventually, a well-informed boy who knows the difference between the two animals corrects the mistake. Colorful illustrations, spare but well-placed words, and a playful story make this a fun and engaging book for toddlers or very young children. 2006, Little Brown and Company, Ages 2 to 4.
—Leslie Wolfson
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-In a simple scenario, a zookeeper places the wrong sign in front of the rhino pen. Rhino is flabbergasted at the error and tries a variety of means to correct the offending moniker-"Hippo." He even attempts, unsuccessfully, to knock down the sign by using one of the tick birds that perches on his back as a dart. Finally, a young boy acknowledges the problem and quickly fixes it. Newman uses watercolor and gouache, along with pencil, ink, marker, and pastel, to create colorful, graphic-style illustrations. There is little text, and most of the story is delivered through the art. Readers will relate to Rhino's frustration and his inability to effect change. The two tick birds on his back add some emotional interest to the tale as they show empathy for his predicament. Even though the plotline is slight, this simple story requires skill on the part of young readers to construct meaning from the pictures. A clever exercise in promoting visual literacy.-Carol L. MacKay, Forestburg School Library, Alberta, Canada Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In this oddball but ultimately tender zoo episode, a clueless keeper carelessly posts a sign identifying a rhino as a hippo-to the rhino's loudly expressed objections. Newman creates a minimally detailed setting, using spatters and splashes of color against plain white backgrounds, so that the red sign and the huge, hugely irritated blue rhino are the main visual elements. After its bellows ("THAT'S NOT MINE-O!") scare off several strangely rendered passersby, the rhino sinks into despondency-until a compassionate lad, having found the proper sign, replaces the other, giving the creature a comforting pat. With wordage so trimmed down that there isn't even a title page, the pictures carry most of the plot and humor, along with the simple pleasure that comes from doing a good deed. Engaging, if mannered. (Picture book. 5-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316155731
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 7/12/2006
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 9.75 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeff Newman grew up in Ashland, MA and attended the Art Institute of Boston. He is the author and illustrator of the picture book Reginald published by Doubleday. He currently lives in Madison, WI.
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2006

    Should have passed on this one...

    My 5 year old son did not find this book engaging in the least. Yours might, but you may want to take a look through this book prior to purchasing it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2006

    What's a rhino to do?

    Rhino is content with his zoo life, until one day the zookeeper gives Rhino a new ¿ and wrong ¿ sign. Now everyone expects him to be a hippo ¿ and nobody will fix the sign-o. What's a rhino to do? Rhino needs a solution, fast in this zany and fun story which uses a minimum of words and plenty of color pictures to get the message across.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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