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Who is Rosie?

Is she a fun-loving rhinoceros who is always up early and ready to greet the day? Or is she a magical unicorn who skips through the savannah on her dainty hooves?

Either way she’s perfect.

From the award-winning author and rock legend Jimmy Barnes and critically acclaimed illustrator Matt Shanks comes a book about the joy of being yourself.



The idea for Rosie the Rhinoceros came from my own granddaughter, Rosie, who at the time was two and a half. Rosie is a big girl for her age. She is tall and strong and is a little bit of a bruiser. She crashes into people and things all over the house. But Rosie thinks that she is a delicate little petal.

One day she was out in the car with her Aunty Elly-May and her sister Ruby, and they were playing a game. Elly was making up names for each of them. ‘You Ruby, are Ruby the rabbit.’

Ruby was happy. ‘Oh, that’s so good. I love to hop,’ said Ruby.

‘I will be Elly the elephant and you, little one, will be Rosie the … let me think. How about Rosie the rhinoceros?’

Rosie sat quietly for a second then tightly clenched her hands into fists and looked at Elly and then loudly proclaimed, ‘I’m not a rhinoceros. I’m a unicorn.’ She then sat looking out the window quietly for a minute before turning back and shouting, ‘A unicorn!’

So that was it. Rosie, who played like a rhinoceros in a china shop, obviously thought she was more like a unicorn and didn’t ever want to be called a rhinoceros.

When Elly told me this story, I could see the whole book laid out in front of me. I love Rosie the Rhinoceros.  By the way, Rosie looks just like her grandfather. So I must be a rhinoceros as well. But that’s another book.

Jimmy Barnes





Jimmy Barnes is a Scottish-born rock singer-songwriter who grew up in Adelaide. His career, both as a solo performer and as the lead vocalist of the legendary band Cold Chisel, has made him one of the most successful and distinctive artists in Australian music history. Jimmy’s childhood memoir, Working Class Boy, became a number one bestseller and won the Australian Book Industry Award (ABIA) for Biography of the Year in 2017. His sequel, Working Class Man, won him a second ABIA for Biography of the Year in 2018. He is the only author to win back-to-back ABIAs for a nonfiction title. Having sold more than 500,000 copies, the books have become Australian classics and established Jimmy as one of our finest storytellers. Jimmy lives in New South Wales, with his wife, Jane.



Matt Shanks’s early fascination for the combination of words and pictures saw him complete a Bachelor of Design at the University of Sydney in 2003. It took him 10 years though, while working as a creative director at some of Melbourne’s best design agencies, to realise that this ‘watercolour hobby’ of his needed to be shared with more than just his wife and cat. Matt has now illustrated several picture books, including Koala Bare and Top Koala by Jackie French, and lives in Melbourne.




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