Hippo! No, Rhino

Common Sense Media says

Thoughtful boy solves case of mistaken identity.




ALA Best and Notable Books

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there is nothing to be concerned about in this book, though young children may find it difficult to understand on the first reading.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

The rhinoceros gets more and more frustrated after the zookeeper misidentifies him as a hippo. No one seems to notice, or care, until a small boy comes along and makes things right.

Is it any good?


Expressive mixed-media illustrations will draw readers back to this book time and time again. From the growing confusion on the face of the zookeeper to the many moods of the misidentified rhino and the startled reactions of onlookers, Jeff Newman uses pencil, ink, marker, watercolor, gouache, colored pencil, pastels, and cut paper to tell a simple but humorous and impressive story.

But the text is minimal, which means most young kids won't understand it the first time and adult readers will have to add some explanation. Happily, each page offers a plethora of enjoyable detail that encourages discussion and will quickly unravel the story. Kids will love acting out the part of the frustrated rhino and relate to his struggle. HIPPO...NO, RHINO! was named an ALA Notable book for 2007.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about zoos, animals, signs, hippos, rhinos, the birds on the rhino's back, and all the other details illustrated in this almost wordless book. They also might discuss the differences between hippos and rhinos. Why is the rhino feeling so frustrated? How would you feel if you were called the wrong name? What would you do about it? Why do you think no one else but the young boy noticed that the sign was wrong?

Book details

Author:Jeff Newman
Illustrator:Jeff Newman
Genre:Picture Book
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:July 12, 2006
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 7
Award:ALA Best and Notable Books

This review of Hippo! No, Rhino was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written bywisemom April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Simply funny

Careless employee labels a rhino as hippo, much to the rhino's frustration! This book has some subtle adult appeal...Imagine the voices of the characters, the slack zoo employee, the arty couple, very funny!! The expressions on the poor rhino's face are priceless. Simple text make it easy for young kids, but adults can laugh along as well.
Parent Written byBob Douglas August 11, 2012


hippos are in nude and rhinos too it is a r*** war
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing


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