I’ve spent a lot of time this month on books for adults, so this week I’m going to take a turn into a younger category. With a small child at home I spend a lot of time reading children’s books, perhaps more than I spend reading adult books! So this week I’ll talk about the latest edition to my child’s library.
Last year I was excited to see a Kickstarter to do a Reading Rainbow reboot to take it online and bring it to schools around the country. I very happily backed this as Reading Rainbow was one of my favorite shows as a kid and I’m a big fan of LeVar Burton, both from that show and from Star Trek. One of the great rewards I received was an autographed copy of his new children’s book: The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm. So not only do I get to give my child a beautifully illustrated book, but a signed one no less! Maybe this will set her down the road I’ve been on, collecting signed firsts.
But enough of the back story. The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm is a lovely story about friendship, sorrow, anger, and how we deal with them. It begins in a very meta way with a little mouse feeling afraid of the storm raging outside her home. Her family had been made homeless the year before by just such a storm. Papa Mouse, seeing his daughter’s distress, pulls out our book and begins to read.
Just like baby mouse, Rhino loses his home to a tremendous storm. In his fear and anger he yells up at the storm and swallows it whole, ending the torrential downpour, but metaphorically bottling all his fear and anger inside. The story is his journey to release that anger with the help of his friends.
Although the writing is a little rough at times the story is sweet and a good lesson for a young child in how to deal with anger and fear before it gets bottled up inside and causes problems. The illustrations are gorgeous and engaging and I think any young child will enjoy The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm. But, to quote LeVar Burton, “You don’t have to take my word for it.”