How the Rhino Got His Skin by Henry L. Herz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
How the Rhino Got his Skin is a retelling of Rudyard Kipling's short story of the same name.
Rewritten in simple, lyrical English, the book is filled with beautiful illustrations to entrance the young kids.
Included in the book is the original short story, which may help to transition young readers from picture books to non-illustrated stories.
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I first met Henry on twitter. He was promoting Nimpentoad, the first book he wrote with his sons Joshua and Harrison. I readily agreed to review the book - it proved to be a great read; creative, descriptive, enjoyable, fun, all whilst having good teaching points for readers. I think I enjoyed this the most as it was the most comprehensive of his books, aimed at 5- to10-year-olds.
The next book, Twignibble, was aimed at a slightly younger age, stated at between 5 - 8. It was simpler, but more poetic, and filled with more illustrations. It had a great environmental message and educational value for young kids about the environment, animals and the world at large. I read it during lunch break at work and showed it to a colleague of mine who has a young kid. She loved it, saying it's the sort of thing she wants to buy for her daughter. I liked it, but not as much as Nimpentoad. Maybe I'm a sucker for longer narratives, even when it's packaged as a kid's book (hey, I love illustrations too!).
This one, How the Rhino Got His Skin, I like, but I don't love it. It's great as a kid's book. It's funny and entertaining, and the illustrations are cute. But... It's a remake. Coming after two highly original books, this feels a little like a let down. Yes, it's aimed at even younger children (3 - 6 year olds) and it reads that way, but surely the Herz family could have come up with something original?
I don't know. We'll see where they go. I hope they come up with something more in the spirit of Nimpentoad again.