Title: Rosie the Rhinoceros
Author: Jimmy Barnes
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: 29th September 2021
Synopsis: From the award-winning author and rock legend Jimmy Barnes and critically acclaimed illustrator Matt Shanks comes a book about the joy of being yourself.
Who is Rosie?
Is she a fun-loving rhinoceros who is always up early and ready to greet the day? Or is she a magical unicorn who skips through the savannah on her dainty hooves?
Either way she’s perfect.
Rosie lives on the African savannah with all the other rhinos, lions, giraffes, and other fun animals – and they’re all good friends! Rosie doesn’t believe she is a rhinoceros though – she sees herself as a delicate and pretty unicorn – not a rhinoceros! As she goes around greeting everyone, they keep calling her a rhinoceros. Poor Rosie! What is a unicorn to do? Rosie comes up with a daring plan – and in doing so, she will show everyone that it is okay to be who you are!
This book arrived Express Post on my doorstep, wrapped in matching wrapping paper that introduced me to Rosie before I opened the book. From the bright, sparkly cover, to the delightful end papers that show Rosie dancing across the savannah before the story starts, and we meet Rosie for real as she wakes up and begins her day and the strong belief that she has in herself as a unicorn.
Rosie’s story is one of joy, unity, and the strength to believe in oneself and make others see you for who you are – whoever you are. Rosie’s spirit is unbreakable, and she’s full of joy, and a wonderful zest for life that just leaps off the page in this delightful story for all ages, all genders and really, it is a story that we can all relate to because like Rosie, we are all unique. There are things about us that cannot be changed and should be embraced. The beauty in this story is in the combination of the simplicity of the words and the way the sentiment of be yourself, accept people for who they are, and the complex layers of this message that readers of different ages, identities and reading levels will get while they are reading about Rosie.
Rosie’s story has the potential to speak to many readers and reassure them that they are not alone in working out their identity, and showing who they are, and what they love or want to be. It can give people the confidence to speak out and let everyone know who they are, and shows that an accepting world, and accepting friends and family will always understand what you want and accept you for who you are and do everything they can to help you on that journey. Rosie the Rhinoceros identifying as a unicorn is one way of explaining different identities and ways of being to young children, whilst other readers can use it to explain how they feel to family and friends – it has many uses and ways of reading it that will be unique to every reader.
This was a beautiful and unexpected book, and I hope readers of all ages find something to connect with in it.