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Clara the Triumphant Rhinoceros

A True Story

Illustrated by Claire Messer

About The Book

Meet Clara the world-traveling rhino in this adorable picture book based on the fascinating true story of how, in the late 1700s, she showed the world that big animals aren’t scary beasts but noble and intelligent creatures.

Clara the rhinoceros was born in India in 1738. When she was orphaned as a baby, a kind Dutch merchant took her in. But, as Clara grew bigger and bigger, it was clear she needed a new home. A visiting sea captain had an idea: If he brought Clara to Europe, people all over the world could see how wonderful she was!

And so, Clara left her home, and she and Captain Van der Meer became a kind of family. They travelled all over by carriage, boat, road, and river. Clara met kings and queens, merchants and farmers, artists and scientists, and, along the way, forever changed the way people thought about her species and other large animals of the land, sea, and sky.

About The Author

Photo courtesy of the author

Jane Kurtz was born in Portland, Oregon, but spent most of her childhood in Ethiopia. Jane speaks about being an author at schools and conferences and helped start Ethiopia Reads (, a nonprofit that has opened the first libraries for children in Ethiopia. She is the author of many books for children, including What Do They Do with All that Poo?, illustrated by Allison Black; Do Kangaroos Wear Seat Belts?, illustrated by Jane Manning; Anna Was Here; Clara the Triumphant Rhinoceros, illustrated by Claire Messer; and the American Girl book Lanie.  

About The Illustrator

Claire Messer is a graduate of the Cambridge School of Art. She works by hand, using traditional printmaking processes to create her picture books, which include the Busy Bus series by Jody Jensen Shaffer, Clara the Triumphant Rhinoceros by Jane Kurtz, and her own Grumpy Pants. She lives in the UK.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Beach Lane Books (April 8, 2025)
  • Length: 40 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781481467049
  • Ages: 4 - 8

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