The boy narrator in this droll tale becomes the owner of a rhinoceros when he visits an exotic pet store. Said creature, despite its size is no trouble: he’s shy, quiet, remains in the garden and keeps himself to himself. Deadly dull in other words, for this new acquisition doesn’t participate in any of the usual pet things: no ball chasing or indeed any other thrown object retrieval; no rolling over; in short, it does nothing.
The rhinoceros expert tells the lad that his pet, like other rhinos, should only do two things: pop balloons and poke holes in kites. Time for a trial run in the park: but does the rhinoceros perform those two tasks? Oh no it doesn’t; seemingly this particular creature is, despite all the playful activities taking place around it, a total let down. Maybe he should swap the rhino for a hippopotamus, the boy thinks.
On the way home though two airborne robbers, one in an air balloon, the other suspended beneath a kite, are attempting to flee the scene of their crime Now unexpectedly the rhinoceros steps up to the mark, follows the instructions given
and proves itself not merely a rhino but a superhero. Furthermore, popping balloons and poking holes in kites are not the only abilities our super-rhino possesses.
Jon Agee’s poker-faced telling, in combination with his ink and watercolour illustrations of the unfolding comical capers, work perfectly together highlighting the daftness of a story that will go down very well with young listeners, and readers of all ages.