Chabbert, Ingrid. The Last Tree. Illus. By Guridi. Kids Can Press, 2017. $17.95. unp. ISBN 978-1-77138-736-6. Ages 6-9. P8Q8
Imagine a world without trees. That’s the life of these two children until they find the last sapling endangered by a developer in their concrete world. The story, which begins with the narrator repeating his father’s story about playing in the grass, is told by an adult remembering his own childhood when he and a friend save the tiny plant. Bold but subdued double spreads in charcoal, ink, gouache, pencil, and digital art present the two friends as small and rounded abstract figures in the overwhelming city shown from a variety of perspectives. The French author and Spanish illustrator collaborated on this book with a small hope—that two children can save a tree even with the encroachment on the green world. The minimalist approach of the book makes this a good introduction to a discussion about the importance of environment and initiative.
March 2017 review by Nel Ward.