Last: The Story of a White Rhino

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Last: The Story of a White Rhino
Author(s)
Age Range
6+
Release Date
September 01, 2020
ISBN
978-1910328644
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A rhino is put in a zoo in the middle of a grey city, where all he can do is pace back and forth. He misses his home, his mother, the smell of earth and rain. He fears he may be the last of his kind. Then one day, he is rescued and released back into the wild, to live free with the other rhinos.

Editor reviews

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haunting and true story of extinction
Overall rating 
 
4.5
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
LAST: THE STORY OF A WHITE RHINO tells the story of the real rhino, Sudan, who is one of the last Northern White Rhinos in existence. Sudan is reflecting on his past and how he feels he is now the last of his kind. He remembers how there used to be others who would play, and his mother who he loved so much. One day, she "fell down and lay still, so still." Then he was boxed up and paces, thinking he is the last. Eventually, he is brought back to where he grew up and finds another rhino, who also smells beautiful.

This story is heart-wrenching but true, with the final note that explains that Sudan was the last male Northern White Rhino. After his death, only two females remain, but once they die, there will be no more of this species. This is a sad but important story.

What I loved: The illustrations here are artistic and lovely. They really pop off the pages and capture the serious and heart-breaking emotions of the story. Written in simple sentences, Sudan's story is compelling and genuine. Although the book ends on a hopeful note with Sudan finding out he is not the only one, the author's note reveals the sad truth, setting the stage for discussions about hunting/poaching and extinction.

I would add a note for sensitive and/or young readers. When his mother dies, it only says she lies so still in the text, but the illustration shows a hunter with a gun next to a red-ended horn, implying he poached her for her horn. This is a Bambi-style sadness that may be troubling for sensitive readers, but it is true and a real problem.

Final verdict: LAST is a heart-breaking tale of extinction that is beautifully and tragically composed. Would recommend for older readers who may be seeking information about extinction.
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