First published in 1987, the first solo picturebook effort by acclaimed children’s book author/illustrator Peter Sis is a quiet meditation on companionship and contentment.
The eponymous rhino in question is a Ferdinand-seque gentle creature who enjoys sitting under a tree and revels in simple moments spent with his friends, the rainbow birds. Alas, ostensibly greener — or, in this case, redder, yellower and bluer — grass is always tempting, as it was for the rainbow birds who abandon the rhino one by one for new pastures.
Of course, things aren’t always as rosy as they seem, and sometimes it takes a bad experience to help us appreciate the good in our lives. The deeply evocative illustrations in this book are breathtaking, especially the pages where a single hue dominates, and it’s no surprise that it was bestowed The New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award.