Last is a striking call to action
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22nd September 2020 was #worldrhinoday and one of our favourite authors @nicolakidsbooks released her first book that she has written and illustrated. It is a wonderful book, a sad book with some haunting illustrations but it is also a book that offers hope. Last is the story of a white rhino, Sudan. He was the last male northern white rhino. He was taken to live in a zoo to try and breed but the plan was not successful. Sudan was released into a protected sanctuary with the last female northern white rhinos in the hope that breeding might be more successful in the wild. Very sadly Sudan fell ill and had to be put to sleep. With no known male northern white rhinos there is little chance of any new northern whites being born. This means that they could become extinct before 2050 which is so desperately sad. Scientists are working hard to find a way to stop this from happening. Nicola’s book, Last, tells the story of Sudan using his voice and short direct sentences that speak straight to the heart. “I am the last.” “I was taken in a box.” “Even the rain smelled empty.” “I am not the only last. There are many lasts here.” “Where are the others for us? What has happened to the world?” The words are simple and direct and they hit hard. The pictures tell more of the story. There is so much sadness in the eyes of Sudan. How does one draw so much emotion in one eye? The zoo pictures are dark in shades of grey and are covered in writing from advertising slogans and famous environmental speeches. Such a clever idea!! In every story there is one flicker of colour, one beacon of hope among the shades of darkness. Nicola always shows us the light, the hope. The beauty of the wild is shown in stark contrast to the sadness of captivity. Bright vibrant colours create images of freedom that seem to move on the page. This is a truly beautiful book written and illustrated with love and passion and as a striking call to action. For us all. “Forget this task of planet-saving is not possible in the time required. Don’t be put off by people who know what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it was impossible only after you are done.” Paul Hawken
- Watch: Nicola Davies introduces her illustrative debut ahead of launch!
- Last is Nicola Davies’s debut as an illustrator! – School Library Journal
- Last highlights our need to do something to help the planet – What I Read
- Last is a book to buy right away! – Dolphin Booksellers
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