Last: The story of a White Rhino
This story of Nicola Davies’ is a fine example of how a relatively few, carefully chosen words can have a very powerful impact.
Nicola’s tale, narrated by a rhino was inspired by Sudan, the last male Northern White Rhino from Africa that died in 2018. From his captive state in a zoo situated in a grey city, the rhino talks of looking for another animal like himself before remembering his earlier life that was full of colour. A place where other rhinos roamed free and he stayed close to his mother by day and night
until the fateful day when a hunter came and shot her dead. The young rhino was captured, put in ‘a box’ and transported to a dreary place without flora and where ‘Even the rain smelled empty’.
There he speaks of being among many other ‘lasts’ that spend their days cooped up pondering upon their plight
and the state of the world where this is allowed to happen.
Then one day something wonderful happens; something that seems almost too good to be true for the rhino is taken back to his life in the wild and joy of joys, he’s no longer alone.
This is the first book Nicola has illustrated herself and her illustrations too are enormously potent, particularly the stark contrast between the captive grey environment and the colour-filled homeland and the finale.
There’s a page about the illustrations at the front of the book, which I won’t re-iterate in full but just mention the inspirational quote from environmentalist, Paul Hawken and endorse Nicola’s own “I believe that the world can change for the better, but it will change one heart at a time. Change your heart, change the world.’
I truly hope that this story will move others as it did this reviewer, to be part of that change.