Rhinos Don’t Eat Pancakes

Daisy’s parents never listen to her.  So when she insists there is a large purple rhinocerous in the house nobody registers him.  Daisy sees him in the hall, glimpses him in the garden and even <giggle> surprises him on the loo!  Not until the pancakes run out (because as it turns out, large purple rhinos do eat pancakes) do her parents suspect anything is wrong, and even then they don’t believe that Daisy’s now-friend the rhino is responsible.  “What next!” they hoot, “A shark on the toilet! A polar bear in the fridge!?”  With typically parental myopia, Daisy’s Mum and Dad even suggest that they visit the zoo to see a real rhino…  Daisy is unimpressed, given that there’s a perfectly good rhino sitting on the sofa.  However, when they see a Missing poster for a large purple rhino all three of them hurry home at once!

This is an extremely well-written picture book, which makes a lot of sense when you discover that Anna Kemp works at Oxford University writing on contemporary French literature.  It has all the hallmarks of someone who really knows how to write: carefully paced, fluently phrased, and with a light touch of humour.    Sara Ogilvie’s illustrations have bags of scribbly character and the largest purplest rhinocerous in the world is drawn to full justice, especially when his large purple bottom is being squeezed into the car.

Sadly the story of distant preoccupied parents probably rings true for a lot of children these days, but Daisy at least gets hers back on side by the end of the book.  Hopefully the story will serve as a timely reminder to the distracted and busy that sometimes children have something important that needs to be heard – and that they don’t always know best!  As always, books in which the child has power will appeal to all ages but especially to preschoolers and those at primary level.

A fabulous and entertaining book.

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