The Last Tree


‘The Last Tree’ stands despite the demands of the village to fell it. The wind rattles ‘their boarded- up windows’ and knocks ‘down their new fences’. However, the parents won’t look; they’re concerned with the neighbours looking in. Yet their children, who venture outside, to  creep ‘beyond the wall’ and find ‘each other by the little tree’ begin remembering…

Once the lone tree was amongst a forest that offered a life of play and community. It sheltered the people who visited. Yet they took the trees and created a village, then further shelter and a wall until one tree remained. The village became overly concerned with the wind, the elements and the neighbourhood.

Emily Haworth- Booth has created an allegory of climate and nature, a story of how humanity ignores and abandons the wonder and possibility of what is there, ready, awaiting us. ‘The Last Tree’ is a truly moving, beautiful, intricately composed picture book that Bookwagon recommends to schools and families.


The Last Tree

Emily Haworth- Booth


‘The Last Tree’ withstands the changes made by the group of friends who come to the forest. Here, they find the ‘dappled light’ falling through the leaves and a ‘gentle breeze‘ twisting between the branches. All is blissful and the friends live and play ‘all summer long’. However, with winter, the leaves fall and it becomes colder, so the friends need trees to build shelter. They find the trees they’ve taken leaves them exposed in the summer where ‘the sun blaze[s] down‘ and there are not ‘enough trees left to shade them’.
In the autumn the winds ‘whip though the spaces where the trees used to be.’ This calls for drastic action, for the remaining trees to be cut until there is only one…
Emily Haworth-Booth leads us through a timeline of development. Her words are factual, her pictures intricate, depersonalised, colour- symbolic. The wall the villagers build contrasts strikingly with the warmth and community of their springtime discovery. So do their attitudes. The trees are disposable, perfunctory, ill-considered…
‘The Last Tree’ is a picture book allegory of human attitudes to our environment. As was reinforced in No One is Too Small to Make a Difference, climate change is a scientific fact. Young people are prepared to take action and call the world to account. What a moving, thoughtful, perfectly created picture book.


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