I’m not sure how long this old book has been in the family, or how many times I’ve read it. But reading it again was a delight.
Diana and Her Rhinoceros is a children’s picture book, first printed in 1964. It’s a preposterous tale, of a white rhinoceros who turns up at No. 43 Queen’s Road, Richmond, Surrey, England (AKA the house of Diana Effingham-Jones) with a serious head cold.
Sensible little Diana marches her new friend off to the kitchen for some cough meds and aspirin, then sets to work making hot buttered toast for him. Diana also boldly chases off the men from the zoo who come around to shoot him, trotting him out to the garden to live in the shed.
It’s silly, it’s fun, and the drawings are cool. Also, the story’s narration is enhanced by funny little dialogue bubbles scattered through the book (particularly relating to the rhino’s fondness for eating Mr Effingham-Jones’s dahlias).
But the feminist in me was always a bit disappointed that self-sacrificing Diana would remain a devoted spinster to her male rhino for the rest of her life, curing all his man-flus and slaving over a hot fire to cook his buttered toast. Though according to page 29 … that’s all you need to be content.
That said, I still give it 5 stars. Lots of fun.
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