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Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros? [Hardcover]

Shel Silverstein
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 1 2009
"This revised and expanded edition of the original 1964 work provides a delightful showcase for Silverstein's humor. It seems that there is this rhinoceros for sale . . . cheap . . . and there are any number of unusual but practical advantages to having one . . . Silverstein's wit comes shining through each page of expressive line drawings. . . ."--School Library Journal.
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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About the Author

Shel Silverstein is best known as a children's-book author who wrote and illustrated a number of bestselling books that have charmed millions of readers of all ages. Crossing many artistic boundaries, he was also a noted songwriter and an accomplshed playwright. Silverstein first came to prominence in the 1950s as a cartoonist for Playboy, where he assumed the role of roving ambassador for the up-and-coming magazine. This esteemed assignment -- due in no small part to his friendship with Hugh M. Hefner -- was the auspicious beginning of a most amazing career. Shel Silverstein died in 1999.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
I adore rhinos. A "cheap" rhinoceros -- well, there is no such thing, which is one of the tell-tale signs that Silverstein is up to his wonderful, tender, down-to-earth antics. ... It's a read-aloud book, so you can share your view of the world with them and vice versa. A great, honest book from one of our most honest children's writers. You'll love rhinos even more after reading the book with your kids (or, as an adult, with those you love or even by yourself). Now, if you're concerned by what other reviewers have written, read on; if not, stop here!
Let's not go too deep here; if we want literary criticism, one could argue that Shel's objectifying a living creature -- one that may soon be extinct! Rhinos are poached for their horn (among other things), after all, and the rhino in Silverstein's book is often used as an object.
But I don't think that's Silverstein's point; in fact, it's the exact opposite -- how fun to have a friend with whom you can play pirates and "good guy-bad guy" and all kinds of other fun pretend stuff and who will help you out just as you help him -- in short, a friend who is with you through thick and thin, good and bad. We should all be so lucky.
Two key lines that helped me survive college come from this book. "He is awfully good for yelling at . . ." is one, and I'm tearing up (really!) just remembering the line. It's not fair that our rhino friend be the brunt of our sadness or anger, but as a friend he's willing to take it. And then, immediately following, is the book's sweet ending: " . . . and he is easy to love.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not his best, but still pretty good Aug. 4 1999
By A Customer
1964 was a pretty busy year for Shel Silverstein. not only was he travelling around the world making strange observations as Playboy's roving reporter, but he had 4 books published: The Giving Tree (which has been reviewed and analyzed to death, if you ask me), A Giraffe and a Half, Uncle Shelby's Zoo: Don't Bump the Glump (inexplicably out of print) and this little book, later revised in 1983.
Quite honestly, I didn't get a real impression of this book. It was--dare I say it?--rather cute. However, judging from the negative review previously posted, perhaps Shel's humor did manage to poke its way through the simplistic narrative and rhyme. In other words, perhaps "Rhinoceros" is worth another look.
Still, I have to wonder--it was the only book of his published at MacMillan (not his usual haunts of S&S and Harper&Row/Collins) and I guess I am curious at the genesis of its publication. But perhaps that is something I shall never know.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A treasure Aug. 15 2001
By A Customer
Not only is this a highly imaginative book for children, but it also about love, vulnerability and humor. Between the ages of 4 to 8, children have generally become well aware of the imperfections in their parents and to a more limited extent in the world, as well. Regrettably, it is often parents who are the last to face the truth. If anyone can understand Charlie Brown's love for a skinny X-mas tree, then you will appreciate this funny, little, love story between a child and a used rhinoceros. When a book has great cartoons like this one, don't just give the book to your kid to read and look at, but read it together and enjoy. My own daughter is now an adult, but when she was in this in age range, she made me read it to her before bed, every night, and sometimes, twice....
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5.0 out of 5 stars I Want a Cheap Rhinoceros! Aug. 24 2002
In this Shel Silverstin sleeper (not one of his best-known books), the value of owning a rhinoceros is illustrated on each page in the most delightful black and white drawings. It seems a rhino can double as a table lamp, keep one warm at night (although a rhino lying on one's body at night can be a bit smothering), play jump rope, keep one's angry parents at bay if one has been naughty, and so many other things.
We also find out that rhinos are not partial to bathing, and although they will allow themselves to dress up as a girl for Halloween, it's not a favorite with the average male rhino.
By the time this book is over, your kids will be clamoring to go to the store and buy a rhinoceros--and who can blame them! I want one too!
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