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Rosie the Rhinoceros

By Jimmy Barnes
Illustrated by Matt Shanks
Reviewed by Barbara Braxton

Rosie is a rhinoceros But she’s not one of those fierce, scary, armour-plated monsters that amble across the African plains always ready to charge unwary travellers.  She’s charming and pleasant and always sees the beauty in her surroundings, including her reflection in the river’s water which tells her she is a unicorn.  She has a pretty horn and dainty hooves, beautiful, sleek skin and most of all she was magical.

But as she greets all the other animals each morning, her favourite time of the day, they all return her greeting by calling her Little Rhinoceros.  And she can’t understand it.  So how was she going to let them know the truth?

It is hard to reconcile that the gravel-voiced rocker who belted out Khe Sanh is the same person who has crafted this beautiful, delicate story about believing in who you are and spreading your joy in that. No one who reads it would ever doubt that Rosie is anything but a unicorn.

Unicorns spread joy and happiness and that’s what she does every morning, and the shape of her body has nothing to do with it.  What a powerful message conveyed in such an enchanting way, all wrapped up with delightful illustrations that we will never view rhinoceroses in the same way again.  Because we know that inside every one of them, there is a unicorn trying to come out.

Teaching Guide
HarperCollins AU 2021
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