'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 17 April 2010

Review: Rhino Neil

Title: Rhino Neil

Author: Mini Goss

Illustrator: Mini Goss

Publisher: New Frontier, A$24.95RRP

Format: Hardcover

ISBN: 978 1921 042300

For ages: 2-6

Type: Picture Book

About: The first thing that strikes you about Rhino Neil is the stunning colour and gorgeous illustrations. Kids have an innate adoration of animals and these beautifully constructed illustrations are not only true to life, they are filled with character, texture and charm.

Author/illustrator Goss must have had a wonderful time creating this book, jammed with a zoo-ful of adorable characters, centering on the lonely and totally misunderstood Neil (love the name). Big, cumbersome, scary-looking, poor old Neil is ostracized by the other animals who are totally convinced he’s a perfect hazard to their wellbeing.

The giraffes think he might spike them. The antelopes think they’ll be trampled. The ostriches are sure they’ll be squashed flat. At all costs, the animals and their families must steer clear of Neil.

Then one day, an enormous truck arrives, and out of that truck emerges something even bigger, even scarier and with an even bigger bottom! What could it be? A friend.

While the other animals hightail it to the hills, our lovely hero Neil finally learns he is not too big, not too cumbersome or scary. There are plenty bigger than him and there are plenty who can understand him and love him just the way he is.

Lovely subtle messaging, gorgeous illustrations and a heart-warming ending make this book a pleasure to read with kids. It also makes one think about the impact that intolerance and misunderstanding can have on anyone who ‘stands out’ in any way.

Thank goodness Neil learns he is perfect just the way he is.

Author website

Teachers' Notes

This book is available online