Rainbow Rhino by Fox Carlton Hughes



Rainbow Rhino Rainbow RhinoFox Carlton Hughes; Ovation Books 2007WorldCatReview by Molly

Homer lived somewhere far away with his Momma and his Poppa Rhino.  He spent a lot of time playing by himself.  The kids at school teased him because he had an exceptionally long tusk, and his tusk embarrassed him.  He tried hiding the tusk under a trash basket, that didn’t work.  Poppa tried to help Homer feel better, that didn’t work either.  Momma baked his favorite dessert, Homer couldn’t even take a bite.  Homer cried himself to sleep that night, but next morning Homer saw a rainbow.  This was not just any rainbow, this was a tearful rainbow with a great big hole in its side.  Can Homer help?

On the pages of Rainbow Rhino Fox Carlton Hughes has fashioned a magical self esteem tale sure to please and provoke to thoughtful discussion for youngsters in the target group of 4 – 8 year olds.  Rainbow Rhino has a compelling story line enhanced by Writer/Illustrator Carlton Hughes’ wonderful bright illustrations.  Momma and Poppa are typical concerned but unable to “make it all better parents.”  Homer is a little boy who sees himself as less than his classmates due to a physical variance over which he has no control at all.  Rather than see his supposed anomaly as part of who he is and going forward triumphant Homer is allowing the thoughts of others control him.  How he comes to accept himself and in doing so promote acceptance of himself in others is a lesson children need.

Illustrations are well done with children in mind, counting activities will be achieved on the pages showing classmates, cows in the field, rainbow tear drops, dew fairies and then the last page with the groups all coming together.  Color identification can be checked by parent or teacher as adult uses the rainbow page to subtly note whether or not children know the colors presented.

Homer with his massive tusk is a character children who have “imperfections” can easily relate too. Rainbow Rhino will lend itself to furthering children understanding that different is okay discussions, as well as how it feels to be singled out because of something physical i.e. out of the child’s control.  We can control our behavior, we cannot control our height, color, or “imperfections”.  The imperfections we each have or imagine can serve either to crush us, or to identify us as very special people.  I plan to use Rainbow Rhino on the first day of school this year.

I am the parent of a ” ~handicapped” child: he limps.  This is a book I would like to have seen available when my own child was first attending school.  It is one I would have bought for his class.  Rainbow Rhino has a place in the classroom as a content area supplement as well as a work to use for teacher’s to guide children’s thinking about self esteem, what it means to be “different” and whether being “different” is good, bad, or just is a part of our lives and is what make us a special, unique person.

Rainbow Rhino is a nicely wrought work sure to please the target audience.  The work is a read to for the 3 – 7 year set, a read with help for the strong 7 reader to 9s and a “I’ll read to you” for the 9- 11 set as they read to younger siblings or take with them to read to the “little kids” in kindergarten. Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend for the classroom, public and school library shelves, in addition to home use.

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