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The Last Tree

The Last Tree

Emily Haworth-Booth
Pavilion Children's Books
ISBN: 9781843654377

What an amazing message this book has, especially for this day and age! This story looks at the bizarre, destructive and selfish relationship that we have with nature. It is a story about greed and consequence. Emily Haworth-Booth provides the next generation with a crucial opportunity to look at ourselves and our way of life: Nature only has so much to give and once a resource is gone, it's gone forever!

The beautifully illustrated picture book sees a group of friends in search of somewhere to live. After many failed attempts, finally, they come across a peaceful forest which provides a natural shelter from the elements of nature. The group of people love their new home and it brings such joy to them all. The people soon start making use of the abundance of wood. They build shelters, houses, dens, washing lines, chairs and tables all of which were made from the wood of their new home.

However, over time, the resource starts to dwindle, and with that, so does their natural protection from the elements. They need to chop even more wood down to make a giant fence to stop the wind until there is only one small tree left. Soon people in their homes forget about the beautiful forest that was once their home and. They isolate themselves in their own buildings whilst growing bitter of each other and slowly losing their love of life and nature.

The last tree sparked the imagination of the children. They loved to play, and it brought joy to them once again and so, this tree started to grow taller and taller. The children could see the damage that their parents had done to the land, they yearned for the forest once again and sought to right this wrong.

I would recommend this book for children aged five and above. In a classroom, this book can be used to spark conversations regarding the consequences of our actions. I would recommend it as either the start of an SMSC input or perhaps to kick-off a topic regarding 'our world'.

The message this book holds will stay with the children and the adults that read it. It could even be used as the start of a tree-planting project at school. It would be incredible if EYFS children were motivated to plant their own tree at the school and then they could see it grow with them throughout their time at school: a lasting and natural legacy for them to leave the next generation.

Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by James Hewish, teacher


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