Edward lives in a dull colourless city, of ‘concrete and cars’. But Edward has a secret place he and his little duck can visit to forget about the city. It’s a magic place for him and he visits every day. Then one day the tree is gone. Now there is nothing to relieve the dullness of the city landscape, nothing to bring colour to his world. Despite his distress, Edward sets out on his bike. He finds a little bit of tree and a way to keep it always with him. In doing so, he finds a way to share his special world with the rest of the city. Illustrations are watercolour and ink. Front endpapers show a drink cup and straw. In the end endpapers, the straw is sprouting its own little plant.
Edward is a solitary child and Last Tree in the City gives no indication of his family situation. But many children spend time in their own wake-dream worlds, regardless of their family. Edward is initially devastated by the loss of his safe place, his tree. But in resolute fashion, he sets out anyway, destination unplanned. His discovery of some remnant of his tree brings him hope and he ponders where he should plant it. In the end, he plants it in his bike, so the tree will always be with him. He ventures afield with his tree, and discovers a whole world within the city where people are doing the same thing. Have they all rescued bits from his tree? Or are they all nurturing their own little havens? And can they share it with each other? Plenty of room for discussion. Recommended for young primary readers.
Last Tree in the City, Peter Carnavas
New Frontier 2010
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
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