Wednesday 27 October 2021

Rosie the Rhinoceros

Rosie the Rhinoceros by Jimmy Barnes & Matt Shanks (Harper Collins Children’s Books) PB RRP $19.99 ISBN 978 1 460758854

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

Rosie is a fun-loving rhinoceros who starts each day with joy and wonder. She creates smiles wherever she goes and spreads her happy magic. Perhaps, she really is a magical unicorn and not a rhinoceros.


Jimmy Barnes has created such a joyful story that it really does make you smile. You can’t not help but not fall in love with Rosie. Her happy, vibrant personality and strong sense of self is sure to inspire any child to want to stay true to themselves. I love the strong message of this book. It really doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks about you, it’s what you think that counts.


Barnes has created this story with a charming mix of short and long sentences. His voice is delightful, and the dialogue shows us so much about Rosie as she goes on her morning walks. ‘Isn’t this morning exquisite?’  I do like the wisdom of the other animals who concede that Rosie really is a unicorn. How could she possibly not be? This story has multiple layers, appeals both to a younger child who will believe Rosie really is a unicorn and to an older child who will understand that Rosie is one because she believes she is. The title of this book is perfect and will attract traffic to a bookshelf. Rosie the Rhinoceros has much heart and is told well.


Matt Shanks’ illustrations are perfect; the main colour choice could not be anything but pink. It captures not only the essence of the story about Rosie, but also the eye of the reader. The endpapers are pink with an adorable little Rosie dancing across the bottom of the pages. Inside the book the bright yellow, title page sings that the story is about to begin. The colour palette of purples, pinks, white and soft earthy yellows, and greens match the text. Shanks conveys so much about Rosie with just a few strokes that is it is masterful. The other animals are soft, cuddly, and adorable too. A little bird journeys through the story with Rosie and adds not only another character but shows that Rosie is never alone on her quest to being herself.


Rosie the Rhinoceros is a picture book for 3 years and up. This is a book that would make a perfect gift for a child to learn about staying true to yourself. When we feel we are being our authentic selves that’s when we are the happiest in this world. I can see parents, teachers and libraries loving this book.

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