Preposterous Rhinoceros by Tracy Gunaratnam and Marta Costa

Preposterous Rhinoceros is an amusing story which makes us laugh out loud. Rhinoceros makes several unsuccessful attempts to read books before his friend, Shy Salamander, helps him learn to read.

The Story: King Lion has lost his voice and can’t read the animals their bedtime story. Rhinoceros offers to read instead but to his surprise nothing happens when he opens the book. He asks various animals how to read but misinterprets their answers which leads to some amusing situations. Finally Shy Salamander teaches Rhinoceros to read but once he can read King Lion gets his voice back. Who will read the bedtime story now?

Preposterous Rhinoceros - Story SnugRhinoceros is a persistent character who is happy to ask for advice about reading but he takes the animals’ advice very literally which leads to some amusing situations. His attempts to read include keys and red paint as well as sticky honey which makes my daughter (and the other animals in the story) laugh. Shy Salamander’s attempts to get Rhinoceros’ attention are also funny (especially when she eats fire) but she is a patient teacher and a lovely double spread shows the progression that Rhinoceros makes as he learns to read. Other characters include Drama Llama and Techie Toucan, my daughter’s favourite character, who sits in his tree with his laptop, headphones and phone.

Marta Costa’s illustrations are full of humorous little details and her brightly coloured spreads include lots of action. I love the double spread where Shy Salamander is teaching Rhinoceros to read, at the beginning the letters that he reads are in a complete muddle but slowly they are rearranged to give a positive message. My daughter’s favourite picture shows Rhinoceros diving into a book. We also find it very cute that Techie Toucan always has his Teddy with him (Shy Salamander drinks cocktails with Teddy while Rhinoceros asks Techie Toucan for advice!).

Preposterous Rhinoceros would be a great story to read to children in an early years or preschool classroom. They will have great fun pointing out Rhinoceros’ mistakes which can stimulate discussions about how to hold a book, how to turn the pages and how to look after books.

Preposterous Rhinoceros is a very amusing story which would make a great addition to the literacy classroom.

Age Range: 3 +

Author: Tracy Gunaratnam / Illustrator: Marta Costa

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Thank you to Maverick Books for sending us a review copy of this very amusing story.

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