Author: Peter Carnavas
Illustrated by: Peter Carnavas
Published by: New Frontier Publishing
Teaching Notes: Last Tree In The City Teachers Notes for National Tree Day (pdf)
Teaching Notes: Last Tree In The City Teachers Notes by Frontier Publishing (pdf)
Themes: The Environment, The City, Deforestation, Hope, Change, Beauty, Colour
Oh what a treat, two books in a year…
Peter Carnavas, author extraordinaire and breathtakingly talented illustrator has released his second book of 2010.
“Last Tree in the City” follows the release earlier in the year of the beautiful book “The Important Things” this time pairing a young boy and a duck together to bring colour and hope to a city that desperately needs it but for some reason or other doesn’t seem to know it.
“This is a book for everybody. If you have ever lived in a city and longed for fresher air, you will identify with Edward instantly. If you have ever shaken your head in disbelief as a patch of greenery is replaced by another patch of concrete, you will know how Edward feels. And if you’ve ever wanted to change the world, this is the book for you. The way in which Edward inspires his fellow cityfolk promotes the message that one little person can make a huge difference. If this book were a song, it would be a cross between Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi and Paul Kelly’s From Little Things, Big Things Grow (if I do say so myself).” – Peter Carnavas
I’ll start with saying that I love the duck, Peter’s already partnered up a tortoise, a puppy and a bird with his colourful characters and the duck is a simple and practical partner in hope. The little friend reminds me of the drawings and poetry of Michael Leunig where the duck is always connected to hope.
So, the story…
Once upon a time in a land of concrete and tall buildings, cars and very little colour lives a boy named Edward who has found a special place where he can forget everything around him, a place that isn’t like the city at all.
It’s a tree, the last tree in the entire city. In the branches of the tree Edward can forget about everything around him, in the leaves and the air he could be free and joyful.
That is until the inevitable happens, someone cuts the final tree down and he’s faced with the greatest job in the world, bringing hope back to the world.
How often is it that it’s left to our children to inspire, change us and remind us of the need for us to take care of the world around us.
Peter’s use of black and white and colour in this book is intentional, large spaces of white and cities that are all grey give us a feeling of emptiness, hopelessness and depression while the colour of the tree and of the two characters is designed to break through the apathy of the city and give us the hope that something can be different.
One of the things I’ve really appreciated has been they way that he has marketed the book, at all of the book launches they’ve given out trees to all who have attend, inspiring hope and action. PLanetArk have used the book as a way to promote and support National Tree Day (July 31 2011) and have produced a set of teaching notes to go with the book.
Peter Carnavas is quickly becoming a favourite of mine, this book was, is and will continue to be a joy to read.