Can a little boy and a big cat start a new society?
Luka huddles inside a large industrial pipe, surrounded by rubble that includes the top of the Statue of Liberty. It's "a strange world," Elliott tells readers. "There were no trees, no plants...and no animals." Except for the last tiger, crosshatched black and golden yellow against a smoky background of metal waste and grim skies. Luka rescues the tiger, whose paw is painfully caught in a tin can, and the tiger thanks him with a flower. A friendship is born, and the two begin some serious play. But a plane soars by trailing a big net; the tiger is captured and caged, and Luka can't get near him, so thick are the throngs of gaping people. Luka decides to hide in the tiger's old cave, where he finds a lush garden! Surely the people won't want to keep the tiger caged once they see it. Standing atop the tiger's cage, he shouts, "Follow me!" The people eagerly do, and, finding this verdant paradise, their despair turns to hope. "Please teach us," they implore the tiger, and for the first time since he was playing with Luka, the tiger smiles. Starkly evocative illustrations with effective use of color and minimal text convey Elliott's delicate fable of friendship and concern for posterity.
Though the plot is accessible to the very young, its apocalyptic vision may not be. (Picture book. 4-7)