The Secret Rhino Society


Product Details

$17.99  $16.55
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Publish Date
8.3 X 10.3 X 0.4 inches | 0.8 pounds

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About the Author

Jonathan E. Jacobs wears many hats, but first and foremost, he is a storyteller. Whether writing children's books, making theater, or creating music-inspired spectacles, he's always telling stories. He lives with his family in Brooklyn, teaches, and spins original vinyl as his alter ego, The Vintage DJ. Jonathan isn't a member of any secret societies, but hopes to someday establish one where everyone can be a member! We're going to need a really big clubhouse! Learn more at

Samantha Cotterill has written and illustrated many popular books for children, including the Little Senses series. The Wall Street Journal praised her "fabulously fun artwork" in Jinx and the Doom Fight Crime! by Lisa Mantchev and called it an "exuberant picture book." She also illustrated Just Add Glitter by Angela DiTerlizzi, which The New York Times called "a sparkle of genius." Samantha lives with her family in upstate New York. Learn more at


This wonderfully witty tale features three best friends: Hudson, a hippo; Fran, a worm; and Jean, a gender-neutral lightbulb who prefers the pronoun they. All three are fascinated by rhinoceroses. Hudson admires their speed, Fran finds them delightfully intimidating, and Jean is impressed with their sturdy, "unbreakable" horns. Imagine their surprise when there's a knock on their secret rhino admiration society clubhouse door, and there stands an actual rhinoceros! Hudson puts in a request for a charging demonstration, or perhaps some snorting, or maybe some horn-sharpening tips. The rather puzzled rhino, Ivy, explains that she's come from the garden shop and is delivering a load of plants. The three friends regroup and invite Ivy in for "cheese and pickle sandwiches." Ivy thoroughly enjoys her snack and suggests that the trio open up a sandwich shop. And they do! Hudson creates a menu, Fran works on recipes, Jean takes care of mood lighting, and Ivy is in charge of landscaping. The amazing illustrations (hand-built 3-D sets on painted cardboard) perfectly complement the offbeat humor and gentle nudges about avoiding stereotypes and expected behaviors. This engaging romp will be a great way to initiate conversations about diversity, tolerance, and acceptance.--Booklist *Starred* "March 15, 2020"
In debut author Jacobs's story, Hudson the hippo, Fran the earthworm, and Jean the light bulb have a major thing for rhinos: they regard one at a movie theater, form a society, and erect a ramshackle clubhouse where they gather wearing paper horns. In photographed three-dimensional scenes, drawn and assembled by hand, Cotterill (This Beach Is Loud!) both conveys her protagonists' giddy enthusiasm and immerses readers in settings where the trio gathers to share and nurture their passion. The impressive theater appears replete with balconies, rows of red seats, and a proscenium stage; the house is packed with diverting textiles. The story reaches beyond a celebration of fandom in its second half, when the group meets a real live rhino named Ivy, a brightly dressed gardener who doesn't charge, snort, or sharpen her horns. "You are just not what we expected a rhinoceros to be," a flummoxed Hudson tells her, to which Ivy smartly rejoins: "I'm sorry you're disappointed." The sweet wrap-up feels somewhat off-course, involving a new group endeavor, but the story's point is well made: it's not up to a member of a group (or species) to conform to others' expectations. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Susan Graham, Einstein Literary Management. Illustrator's agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Productions. (June)--Publishers Weekly "April 13, 2020"