Nicola Davies, Last: The Story of a White Rhino (Tiny Owl, 2020)

A story of hope against hopelessness. Extinction, maybe like death in general, is a tough thing to explain to a child. I’ll never forget the first time it hit me. Might sound silly, but remember the movie Short Circuit? With Ally Sheedy, Fisher Stevens, and Steve Guttenberg, circa 1986? It’s the “Reassemble, Stephanie! REASSEMBLE!” scene I’m talking about. Here you go:

There are some difficult illustrations here. One in particular startled me. I think you’ll recognize it from the images I’ve posted. This isn’t a sugarcoated picture book. But neither is it all sadness and despair. The ending (like all those tear-jerking animal-release videos of tigers and mustangs and gorillas) is the right stuff for the heart’s education, young or old.