The Last Tree
The Last Tree
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Annotation: A boy finds a sapling behind a crumbling wall in the concrete city he calls home and decides to replant it in a safe place to save it from a development project.
Catalog Number: #140327
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Illustrator: Nieto Guridi, Ral,
Pages: 36
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-7713-8728-9
ISBN 13: 978-1-7713-8728-6
Dewey: E
Dimensions: 31 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
A small boy's world filled with "roads, walls and lots of other ugly things" is about to change when he follows his best friend Gus to a sapling located behind a low, crumbling wall. The young lad is in awe of this fragile plant since greenery pecially trees near nonexistent in his concrete-block neighborhood. He's so enthralled by the tiny tree, he dreams about it: "I imagined it tall. Huge, even. And majestic." But his hope of the tree flourishing seems dashed when he learns a new skyscraper is destined for the sapling's spot. Chabbert's somber narrative about the importance of nature is especially effective paired with Guridi's full-page spreads of thick, block-printed swathes of gray and black, with only occasional sprinklings of signs of life. When the boy comes up with a creative, compassionate solution, the scenes slowly shift from coarse, angular objects to softer features with dark tones and brilliant spots of color. This touching tale contains a moving message of hope, as well as a call to action.
Kirkus Reviews
Chabbert imagines a world without trees—until friends discover a sapling.This first-person narrative establishes the speaker as a grown-up remembering a story from his father's youth, then describing his own. The elder man loved playing in the grass; Guridi's field fills two thirds of the vertical space on the double-page spread. The verdant scene contrasts with the 13 green blades in the gray concrete jungle surrounding the son. It is a friend who shows him the young tree, doomed, it is revealed, due to the imminent construction of luxury condos. The boys rescue the tender growth, replanting it far away. Aspects of the charcoal, ink, gouache, pencil, and digital art are reminiscent of Oliver Jeffers' work—the boys' blue and orange silhouettes with large heads and slender bodies, the collage elements. Ultimately readers learn that "Years later…. / I had grown. / The tree had, too." There is a clear message about the superiority of nature to the man-made, but the text sometimes seems aimed at adults more than children. The ending is confusing (the boys do not appear to have grown at all); it is neither logical nor very hopeful—there is only the one, titular, last tree. The beauty and majesty of deciduous trees seem to bring out the philosopher in many authors, resulting in a wealth of options for exploring growth and environmental responsibility. This is not a first choice. (Picture book. 4-6)
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ALA Booklist (2/1/17)
Kirkus Reviews
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: P-2
Lexile: AD470L

A small boy longed to roll and play in the grass like his father had when he was a child. But the boy lived in a concrete city without any grass or trees. Instead, they ?had roads, walls and lots of other ugly things.? Then one day the boy and his friend discovered a sapling hiding behind a low wall. The boy had never seen a tree before. He was so amazed, he dreamed about the tree. ?I imagined it tall. Huge, even. And majestic,? he says. So when they heard that a condominium was being built right on the spot where their tree was growing, the friends knew they had to dig it up and replant it in a safe place. They had to make sure the last tree survived.

This poignant picture book with a futuristic feel offers a powerful environmental message about the critical importance of conserving the natural world. The story, written by Ingrid Chabbert, is narrated by the boy as an adult looking back on something that had enormous significance for him, highlighting the positive role that nature plays in our lives, and ultimately offering hope for the future. The muted tones of the artwork by Guridi add emotional impact to the narrative. This would make a terrific classroom read for Earth Day, or for discussions about the environment. It also celebrates how, with a bit of imagination, even small children can make a difference. A wonderful choice for character education discussions about initiative.

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