THE LAST TREE
By: Emily Haworth-Booth
Published: March 2, 2021
Publisher: Pavilion Children’s Books
A group of friends finds a lovely forest to make their homes. The children played among the trees and slept on the forest floor. But, when the weather changed, the friends needed firewood. Then because they needed firewood, there was more space for the wind and rain and snow to come in. So, then they used more wood to make shelters and finally more wood to make cabins. Eventually, all that was left was one tiny, little tree.
This story reminded me a bit of THE LORAX in which greed takes over and there are no trees left in the town of Thneedville. In this new village, there are no trees left, but one lonely, little tree that no one thinks is worth anything until the parents in the village decide they still need more wood and send the children out to cut it down and the children refuse, instead bringing the wood from the fenced wall.
This book teaches kids about the importance of trees and the purpose of them, the difference between needs and wants, and how to care for our environment. At the end of the story, the villagers join together to replant the trees in their village and come back together as a community.
The illustrations are simple pencil and colored pencil drawings but offer enough for children to understand the meaning behind the message of the story. This type of illustration gives the book a classic, older book feel. I do think this story is better for elementary-aged kids even though it is a picture book.
Emily Haworth-Booth is an award-winning author, illustrator, and educator who teaches at the Royal Drawing School in London, England. In addition to her children’s picture books, Emily is currently working on a graphic memoir. She is a passionate environmentalist, just like the children in her story.