Operation Rhinoceros
By Lee Wardlaw
Illustrated by Deborah Stouffer

Red Hen Press
Ages 8-12

A Weekly Reader Book Club Main Selection
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It’s a nightmare-come-true.  Jeffrey’s mother is his fifth-grade teacher!  She’s turning the classroom upside-down:  taking mug shots of students, piling on homework, even giving Jeffrey’s best friends a hard time.  Of course, everyone takes it out on him.

Jeffrey is sure his school life is doomed. But when his fellow fifth graders start a club called KAPUT (Kids Against Perfectly Unbearable Teachers), and Jeffrey is forbidden to join, he concocts a desperate plan.  A plan to force his mother to quit her job and win back his friends.  A plan called:  Operation Rhinoceros.


Jeffrey’s mom gets tough


The fifth graders form KAPUT


Jeffrey buys a ticket to visit Rita the Rhino at the zoo

All illustrations copyright Deborah Stouffer, 1992


Pucker up, baby!

rhinoThere are five species of rhinos:  Black, Indian, Javan, Sumatran and White.

rhinoThe rhino featured Operation Rhinoceros is a White Rhino.

rhinoWhite Rhinos have poor eyesight but a keen sense of hearing and smell.

rhinoA birth, a baby White Rhino weights about 150 pounds.  It soon grows to be the largest of all rhinoceroses, weighing 8,000 pounds. That’s four tons – or the same weight as 50 average-sized men!

rhinoThe White Rhino has two horns.  The fore horn can reach five feet in length and is made of compressed kerotin fibers, similar to our fingernails. If a horn is cut or broken, it can grow back within a couple of years.

rhinoMany cultures believe that rhino horns have strong medicinal powers. Poachers have killed thousands of rhinos for their horns, bringing the White Rhino species to the brink of extinction.

rhinoRhinos are vegetarians, which means they do not eat meat.  The White Rhino has a wide mouth and is a grazer, eating grass like a lawn mower.  White Rhinos are able to eat plants that are poisonous to other animals.  This helps keep the African plains weed-free!

rhinoRhinos are closely related to horses because they have hooves.

rhinoRhinos can run up to 40 miles per hour.

rhinoRhinos can live up to age 50.

rhinoRhinos communicate using their nostrils, ears and posture.  They also express themselves using a Morse-Code-like system of blowing through their nose and mouth.

rhinoA rhino’s favorite pastime?  Soaking in cool mud on hot days!



International Rhino Foundation


African Wildlife Foundation


S.O.S. Rhino

Adopt a Rhino Programs:

International Rhino Foundation

World Wildlife Fund

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