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THE LAST TREE by María Quintana Silva


by María Quintana Silva ; illustrated by Silvia Álvarez ; translated by Jon Brokenbrow

Pub Date: June 4th, 2019
ISBN: 978-84-16733-46-0
Publisher: Cuento de Luz

What if all the world’s trees disappeared?

The fear of being burned or cut to pieces convinces the trees in Goran’s world to pull up their roots and depart, taking the shade, the birds, and the animals and leaving behind a “thick, grey smog.” Remembering all the ways he’s enjoyed the tree in his garden, Goran worries that it will leave too. He convinces it to stay and sleep through the winter while he and his friends replant the forest and pick up trash. In spring, the tree wakes to a better world. Quintana Silva, who described a refugee experience in Kalak’s Journey (illustrated by Marie-Noëlle Hébert and also translated by Brokenbrow, 2018), here introduces children to another distressing issue: deforestation. The obvious lesson in this parable is hammered home by its last line: “No trees were harmed in making this story.” The Spanish publisher has used a special “stone paper” made with calcium carbonate and high-density polyethylene. This paper feels lovely in the hand, and the pastel illustrations, done in vivid, if synthetic, colors, show off beautifully. But librarians should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of this paper, which is advertised as durable, waterproof, and photo degradable—that is, the art may fade in time. While it lasts, though, it will make a conversation-provoking read-aloud. Goran presents white. The Spanish edition is also available.

Best when shared with early elementary schoolers by an adult with time and tact for the discussion that will surely follow.

(Picture book. 5-9)