The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm


By LeVar Burton and Susan Schaefer Bernardo
Illustrated by Courtenay Fletcher

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.

In his first children’s book, longtime Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton gives us an engaging resource to help children express their feelings and navigate through difficult experiences. The “Take a Deeper Look” page at the end of the book even provides discussion questions to facilitate a healing dialogue.

Hardcover: 32-page, 8.5x11, full color illustrations
Publisher: RR Kidz (Oct. 7, 2014) 
ISBN: 978-0990539506
Age: 4+ years

Also available as a digital book app on LeVar Burton Kid's SKYBRARY! LeVar Burton's delightful narration
brings the book to life while your child interacts with the colorful illustrations.

Reviews and Press

This book reads like a wise and magical folktale, with many valuable lessons delivered in rhyming verse from cute animal and insect pals. THE RHINO WHO SWALLOWED A STORM is about a lot more than physical survival and calming the nerves of an anxious child. The story the father mouse reads deals especially with the rhino’s emotional reality and ability to ‘move through your sorrow ... on the road to tomorrow.’
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.
 LeVar Burton debuting The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm on GMA with Robin Roberts. Oct. 2014

LeVar Burton debuting The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm on GMA with Robin Roberts. Oct. 2014

 LeVar Burton's appearance on KTLA 5 Morning Show. March 2016

LeVar Burton's appearance on KTLA 5 Morning Show. March 2016

I read this book to my primary class – all boys of ages 5 and 6. What amazed me was how instantly connected they were to the story within a story. They loved that Papa Mouse wanted to comfort Mica by reading her a book. Interestingly, they became caught up within Rhino’s story and only remembered that this was the story Papa Mouse was reading when they noticed the incredible illustrations on several pages that included Papa’s fingers holding a book. My students wanted to make comments after each page, as they were drawing comparisons to how Rhino’s friends helped him through his tough times to their own lives.

The story is so well-crafted, and the poetic verse of each of Rhino’s friends provides an additional layer of beauty to the story. Fletcher’s illustrations captivated my students! I watched their faces while they explored the pages of the book and noticed their expressions mirrored the colors and scenes on each page. At the end of the book, there are discussion points/questions that led us to some revelations about ourselves, as we were able to compare our own experiences to those of Mica and Rhino.

What I love most about this book is that we are comforted knowing it’s okay to have feelings of fear, anger, or sadness… but that we don’t have to face them alone. Through the wonderful advice of Rhino’s friends, we learn multiple methods of coping: asking a friend for help, singing a song… and that even a good cry can help relieve the “storm” inside of ourselves.