The last elephant by Justin D'Ath
Puffin Books, 2013. ISBN 978 0 14 330726 6
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Dystopian. Animals. When Colt and his mother, a veterinarian, go to the Lost World Circus to see an elephant, the last elephant in the world, they must take action when the animal is bitten by the dreaded ghost-rat, the reason for all animals in the world dying. Colt has been bitten before and survived, so has a special immunity and knows just what these creatures can do. His empathy with the elephant sees his mother and he follow the elephant when it is taken away by the Rat Cops, a government organisation ostensibly there to help the elephant, but everyone knows a trip with that particular crowd is a death sentence.
An exciting start to a new series, D'Ath has developed a scenario which is becoming all too clear as we read of endangered animals in the wild being counted in their hundreds, or of the number of animals being wiped out each day. The characters of Colt and his friend, Birdy as well as his mother, are well drawn and sit well as the focus of this highly dramatic and involving adventure series with a message. Book Two and Three, The singing ape, and Secret superhero are just released, and there are more in the pipeline. So watch out for this exciting, environmentally conscious series.