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Reggie, My Rhinoceros

A gentle children’s book on grief

By Werner Holzwarth

Illustrated by Mehrdad Zaeri

Best friends are together through thick and thin—and forever in memory

For Hopper the oxpecker bird, life is just perfect. He lives on top of his best friend, Reggie the rhino, where there are lots of yummy flies to eat. Reggie keeps Hopper safe when lions are lurking, and dry in the rainy season. Hopper wouldn’t change a thing!

But Reggie isn’t young anymore, so he wants to prepare Hopper for life without him. He helps Hopper remember all their good times together—their lazy days and exciting escapes, their teasing nicknames and corny jokes. The only problem is Hopper’s habit of exaggerating!

Hopper keeps watch by starlight as Reggie lies down for the last time. And at daybreak, he takes flight to find his own way in the world. When Hopper meets a new crew of oxpeckers, he can hardly wait to tell them all about his rhinoceros. Remember when Reggie chased off three—no, three hundred—sneaky lions?

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Meet the Authors
Werner Holzwarth headshot

Werner Holzwarth

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Mehrdad Zaeri headshot

Mehrdad Zaeri

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Review quotes
“It’s hard to think of a tighter relationship than that enjoyed by Reggie, a rhinoceros, and Hopper, a tiny oxpecker bird . . . Holzwarth uses their symbiosis as a way to describe a close relationship, its inevitable end, and a way forward. Though it’s about grief, this is a largely fun book . . . [with] a very satisfying resolution.”Booklist

“A bird coping with the loss of the rhinoceros he lived atop recalls their shared adventures.”—Publishers Weekly

Praise from Germany

A Zeit and Radio Bremen LUCHS Prize of the Month winner

“Just as joy and happiness are part of life, so are grief and pain . . . but Holzwarth never lets the heaviness and sadness gain the upper hand. . . . It is also fascinating how Zaeri lights up the muted colors in which he draws. . . . A story of saying goodbye and remembering.”—Zeit
“Mehrdad Zaeri bathes his pictures in earthy brown . . . They go very well with Holzwarth’s story. . . . [A] very honest picture book . . . [that] tells children an unvarnished story about death. In the end, life goes on.”—Radio Bremen
“A wonderful picture book, profound, complex, yet quite simple . . . [Holzwarth] tells us that holding on and letting go, experiencing and remembering, crying and laughing are inseparable. At his side, illustrator Mehrdad Zaeri translates what is said and unsaid into masterful imagery.”—rbbKultur
“[A] simultaneously wistful and joyful book.”—Süddeutsche Zeitung
“Writing a story about death is not easy. Too often it gets cheesy, or the pain is glossed over. Werner Holzwarth succeeds in telling one without sentimentality, pathos, or religious transfiguration. One of the most beautiful picture books of the year.”—Titel Kulturmagazin
Product Details
Age range
5 - 8
Grade range
K - 3
Number of pages
Publication date
June 08, 2021