I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm + LeVar Burton signing

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , , , , ,
The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm
by LeVar Burton and Susan Schaefer Bernardo
Children's Literature
Amazon  /  Goodreads

Plot Summary:

When little Mica Mouse is scared by thunder booming outside her cozy home, Papa Mouse reaches for just the right story to comfort her. Hugging her close, he begins to read The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm. In this poetic book-within-a-book, a happy little rhinoceros is overwhelmed by a storm that sweeps away everything he loves. Swallowing the storm just makes him feel worse, so Rhino sets off on a whimsical journey toward healing. Along the way, he meets many friends, including a kind spider, a brave kangaroo, a wise tortoise, and an uplifting whale. With their help, Rhino lets go of the storm inside and learns to see the light in a world turned gray. Mica Mouse is soothed by the story and Papa’s gentle reminder that even though bad things sometimes happen, the world is full of people who care.


This was a lovely and charming read with a heartwarming and uplifting message.  Since it's a story within a story, the Rhino's tale serves as a kind of fable for kids to reach out to loved ones in times of trouble.  I think the message is a timely one, and it made me feel a little emotional in the hope that it's a message that more people are able to take to heart.  The illustrations are bright and enhance the poetic story beautifully.  This is really a lovely read for children - and even better, it's a great book for parents and teachers to read to children.

I don't read a lot of children books now, but this is a nice book for me to look over every now and again for it's message and charm.

The Book Signing

The book signing was a lot of fun!  There was a good amount of Star Trek talk among the people waiting for the event to begin, so already I was entertained.  Someone who worked on the set of the TV show and some of the films was talking about their experiences!  And I got to talk to the lady next to me about Doctor Who, and she had some very interesting viewpoints on science fiction as a genre which was very thought-provoking for me.  But anyways.

For the event, LeVar Burton gave a little speech about Reading Rainbow and why he wanted to write a book - he wanted to write something that Mr. Rogers (from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood) would have written.  And then LeVar read the whole book to us and the kids who were seated on the floor in front of him - and that whole experience was a delight.  He did voices and gave a great performance of the book.  After, there was a Q&A and I was intrigued by a couple of answers he gave - one that his favorite book as a child was Captain Courageous by Rudyard Kipling, which was so absorbing to him that he felt depressed when the book was over, and that to this day, when he's reading a great book, he slows down to make it last a little longer.  Which is something I have a very hard time doing, because even if a book is so good I don't want it to end, I do want to know how it ends and get that closure!

The other answer was to the last question of the night which was - why a Rhino out of all animals?  And it's because Rhinos are strong and if even they are brought down by pain and grief, and yet can move past it, then anyone can.  And as the editor points out, there are a lot of stories about elephants.

The signing part went by in a blur of course.  He signed for most of the kids first, which was adorbs, and then when it was my turn I told him how much I enjoyed the reading he gave, and his performance which made me enjoy the book even more.  And I also asked him if he has any favorite books that are not children's books, and he said he usually says the book he's reading right now, which is Game of Thrones.  But one of his favorite authors is Octavia Butler.

And then that was pretty much it!  I was so happy I went (and managed to not ask him about Star Trek, haha).  I do wish I had asked for a posed photo - his people were saying there wasn't time, but I think a few people asked anyways and got it!  But it was a very enjoyable evening, and well worth the traffic-heavy drive through downtown Los Angeles!

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