Books Family Kitty Reading what we're reading

Rhinos Don’t Eat Pancakes {what we’re reading}

19/11/2013

I am quite unashamedly repeating an author illustrator combination this week, but not without good cause.

The Worst Princess was our first of Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie’s books but it was never going to be our last.

It was a bitterly cold, damp and misty day last winter, and we needed to get out of the house before the mischievous cabin fever pixies really took hold, so we went to the bookshop for a little potter, a little browse, and to absorb a little of the nice calming aura that comes with being surrounded by books (I think it’s something in the binding glue).

It worked a treat. Tiny newborn Elma snoozed, I found a new book on French cooking and Kitty, continuing the culinary theme, chose Rhinos Don’t Eat Pancakes.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life - Rhinos Don't Eat Pancakes - Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie - Children's Book - Review

in a funny sort of a way it’s rather a milestone book for us. For starters it was one of her earliest picture books that simply told a story, without also being a rhyme. When she was really tiny I rapidly discovered that there’s a reason baby books are in rhyme; the patter holds their attention long before the words really make any sort of sense, and then gradually the story becomes more and more engaging, and the rhythm is just the icing on the top, and not the fundamental draw. She had non-rhyming books, but they were never the ones she pulled off the shelf and brought to story time, they’d be the ones we chose, and sometimes the ones we didn’t quite finish as a wrigglish little someone slipped away to go and play. But this was one of the ones (along with Stuck) where she stayed firmly snuggled up right through to the last page, and then flipped it back to the beginning with a happy “again!”

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life - Rhinos Don't Eat Pancakes - Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie - Children's Book - Review

But more than that, this is the book that we bought around about the time that Kitty’s language really took off, and so it’s the first book that she could comprehendably ‘read’ back to us. We read it every bed time and every story time for weeks so it’s no surprise that she committed it to memory. I’d come back downstairs from changing Elma to find Kitty sat with ‘Rhino doh ee pancake’ on her lap, turning the pages and reciting as her fingers traced over the pictures. Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life - Rhinos Don't Eat Pancakes - Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie - Children's Book - Review

I so wish I’d videoed her doing it, it was just so cute. Mainly because while it wasn’t a perfect word for word recitation, she’d skip the occasional consonant or definitive article, the intonation was a perfect copy. It wouldn’t be the same now, those lovely words came thick and fast and she can repeat what’s written without much bother, but perhaps I should try to catch a little story telling before it all changes again. Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life - Rhinos Don't Eat Pancakes - Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie - Children's Book - Review

Even without all that sentimentality, this is a fabulous book. Daisy is sitting in her kitchen one morning when in strolls a big purple rhino. He grabs a bite of Daisy’s pancake and settles in to family life while Daisy’s parents remain completely oblivious, no matter how many times Daisy tries to tell them about the new arrival.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life - Rhinos Don't Eat Pancakes - Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie - Children's Book - Review Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life - Rhinos Don't Eat Pancakes - Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie - Children's Book - Review

Of course in the end all is revealed, and in one of those beautiful logical but utterly fantastical moments the family all push Rhino into the car, drive him to the airport and put him on a flight back to “a million miles away” and his family. And Daisy and her parents start to spend a little more time together, even if it appears that she may just have become the first stop on the underground railroad out of the zoo if the fleeting glimpse of the pink polar bear is anything to go by.

We’ve got one more Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie book on our shelves (and I’m saving it for another week because it’s also lovely) but these three are their only collaborations so far (and I really hope it is ‘so far’) but both have new books either just released or about to come out (including one with Shark in the Dark’s author Peter Bently) that will almost certainly be on Kitty’s Christmas list.

Maggie Stone

Do go and say hi to Lucy and Kelle and see what they’ve been reading, and if you’ve seen something you think we all ought to be reading, please let us know!

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  • hena tayeb 19/11/2013 at 9:09 pm

    adorable. we are reading I’m a Big Brother Now in preparation.. and I love how much he loves the book and giggles at the jokes and wants to hear it all over again when we’re finished.

    • Carie 20/11/2013 at 10:26 pm

      I love the again again moment – even when I can read a story with my eyes shut it’s pretty special!

  • Anna-Marie 20/11/2013 at 11:27 am

    I love love the illustrations of this book. The book sounds like you would gets lots of laughter from it 🙂

    • Carie 20/11/2013 at 10:22 pm

      It’s just a perfect illustrator/author combination – I really hope they do more!