Hippo! No, Rhino! - Thao Lam
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Hippo! No, Rhino!

Hippo! No, Rhino!

Hippo! No, Rhino!

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I can’t remember the last time I went to the zoo. When we were kids we used to go all the time. All of us would pile into my dad’s red station wagon and head off to the zoo; by the end of the day we would all be tired and smelly from having spent the day with the animals. One of my favorite photos of my sister and I was taken in front of the gorilla exhibit. Tiny in comparison to the gorillas, we stood there looking sassy with sunglasses on, each holding a McDonald’s hamburger. I have lots of fond memories at the zoo. Keep reading…

With very little text, author and illustrator Jeff Newman teaches readers a valuable lesson in mislabeling people or in this case a Rhino. In Hippo! No, Rhino! a zookeeper places the wrong sign in front of the Rhino exhibit. The Rhino desperately tries to correct the sign and becomes even more frustrated when ignorant visitors start calling him a hippo. As a reader it wasn’t hard to feel sorry for the rhino. His facial expression of dismay, frustration, and hopelessness help articulate feelings to the reader.

Hippo! No, Rhino! is a psychedelic trip back to the 70’s with animals and peopled painted in electrifying colours; blue, greens, orange, purple and yellow. Vivid colours that pop against clean white backgrounds. Newman just went at it with every medium at his disposal; cut paper, gouache, ink, marker, pastel, pencil, and watercolour. Creating wonderful chaotic mess by splattering, spraying and smudging. The drawing style reminds me of 1968 British animated feature film the Yellow Submarine, wild and fun.

Hippo! No, Rhino!, a children’s book review by Thao Lam

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Author and Illustrator Jeff Newman

I wasn’t able to find much on Jeff Newman but there are a handful of interviews he has given scattered on the net. Seven Impossible Things conducted one of my favorite; they posted a generous number of preliminary sketches for Hippo! No, Rhino! and sketches from his other books. Always curious, I enjoyed getting a sneak peak into Jeff Newman’s studio. You can read the full interview here http://blaine.org/sevenimpossiblethings/?p=1890

Thirsty for more, check out Jeff Newman’s website www.newmanpictures.com

Publisher Little Brown Books for Young Readers (July 12, 2006)

ISBN-10 031615573X

ISBN-13 978-0316155731