Review Blog

Jan 20 2011

Last tree in the city by Peter Carnavas

cover image

New Frontier Publishing, 2010. ISBN 978 1921042218.
(Age 4-8.) Picture book, Recommended. The power of one is stunningly illustrated in this story of a young boy re-treeing the city. Dismayed when his one tree is cut down, he finds a discarded piece of it, and plants it in some soil in the carriage of his tricycle. He has always had fun on that tree, climbing it, playing in it and appreciating its greenness in the grayness of the surrounding city. But to find it cut down is devastating. His solution is carried around on his tricycle for all to see, and so many other people in the city, follow his example, making the city greener than it has been before.
The illustrations meld with the words as the reader views the colourless outlines of the city in the first few pages, contrasted with the vibrant green tree which fills the following pages, overshadowing the pale buildings. The middles pages of the book when the tree is cut down are stunning, showing mainly white pages with a short sentence in small print in the centre of the page and a despairing boy. The sad face and pages of white space change when he works out what to do, and the face gets happier and the pages fuller until the last double page is full of colour, people and life. The designer and illustrator have worked hard to use the white space with great effect.
This is a wonderful book with which to start talking to students about their environment.
Fran Knight

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