Format: PDF Review Copy (Hardcover available September, 2020)
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Picture Book
What did you like about the book? This story was inspired by the true story of Sudan, the last Northern White Rhino, who unfortunately died in 2018. Nicola Davies was inspired by the story of Sudan and the great efforts to help other animals that are endangered as well. In this story, we see the life of a male white rhino through his eyes–what he remembers about his home, others in his herd, his mother and her death, and the day he was brought in a “box” into captivity. We see that his world goes from fields of grass and flowers and inky skies filled with stars to a concrete enclosure with no smells or comfort at all. He looks around him and sees others who are also the last one of their kind-giraffe, monkey, bear, and bird. One day, he again awakens in a cage, but this time he is in a land that is familiar to him. He is home and he is free to roam in the fields and under stars as he did when he was younger.
The author provides some additional information both about the story and the illustrations she created for this book. She was inspired by the true story of the last Northern White Rhino who lived in a conservancy in Kenya–with armed guards for his safety! The illustrations are dark in tone with muted grey and black, adding to the distressing nature of the story. The bright colors of yellow, green, red, and orange are really only seen when the rhino is back in his homeland. The author explains her subtle uses of lettering that can be seen in the lighter parts of the illustrations. “These were random snippets of advertising, slogans, and short phrases from famous environmental speeches made by Martin Luther King, Chief Seattle and Paul Hawken, plus a few of my own, translated into many different languages. My aim was to contrast the bleakness of advertising with inspirational words.”
Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing
To whom would you recommend this book? This book is perfect for children between the ages of four and eight years old, especially if they are interested in animals and the protection of endangered animals.
Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries, preschools, anyone who works with children between the ages of four and eight years old.
Where would you shelve it? Picture Books
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, beautiful message and beautiful illustrations.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.
Date of review: June 26, 2020