It was back in 2021 when I reviewed Luke Adam Hawker’s Together in a post you’ll find here. I was so moved by his artistry that Together became one of my books of the year. Consequently, although I was avoiding taking on new blog tours, I simply had to be part of this one for Luke Adam Hawker’s latest book The Last Tree: A Seed of Hope. My enormous thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate.
Published by Octopus imprint Ilex on 2nd March 2023, The Last Tree: A Seed of Hope is available for purchase here.
The Last Tree: A Seed of Hope
Imagine a world without trees. A world that is in many ways like our world, but where magnificent canopies, tree climbing and leaves rustling in the breeze are now only distant memories.
Until a young girl comes along, a girl who is brave and spirited and willing to follow where her imagination takes her. Through Olive’s adventures in the world of trees we are reminded of nature’s extraordinary power and beauty, and her actions ultimately sow the seeds of new life in her own world.
From the mind and pen of bestselling author Luke Adam Hawker, The Last Tree is a powerful evocation of the fragility of our natural world and a magnificent celebration of its beauty.
My Review of The Last Tree: A Seed of Hope
A picture book for all ages.
I never know whether to envy or pity those who’ve yet to discover Luke Adam Hawker. I envy that first discovery, but because I feel my life has been enhanced by his books, I truly envy those who haven’t yet dived in to them.
There’s very little text in The Last Tree: A Seed of Hope, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no story or that the book isn’t rammed with meaning and thought-provoking images and messages. Even the end papers help illustrate our insignificance in the universe. The text can be taken literally, but the more times I looked at the book, the more significance I found. When Olive climbs the tree, for example, it was as if an understanding of the challenges of life in general was being conveyed with humanity and empathy. Indeed, I found myself attaching importance and interpretation that is perhaps way outside the original meaning intended. And that is the success of the book. It seems as if it adapts itself to the reader. Aside from any environmental message, Olive felt like a metaphor for Ukraine to me…
The Last Tree might initially feel simplistic, but it’s a book that increasingly rewards and provides greater meaning the more time is spent looking carefully at the images. What Luke Adam Hawker does so well is to allow a kind of breathing space so the reader or viewer can pause, contemplate and find their own meaning and construct their own narrative beyond that which is physically presented. The use of white space in the book enhances this feeling too.
The themes are profound and moving. Olive lives in a world without trees until her adventure begins. Her situation mirrors what is happening to the world’s environment to perfection making The Last Tree feel relevant and dangerously prescient. I loved the fact her name is also a tree and is associated with peace. I found this quite moving and ended The Last Tree feeling her name was more of a hopeful instruction – O. Live! And there is hope at the end of the story so that the book feels uplifting and positive in spite of the difficult messages it has.
The quality of illustration is outstanding. Each page is a mini work of art and I was intrigued by the fact that whilst there is considerable heaviness and darkness in many of the pictures, several have light alleviating them so that they enhance the ultimate feeling of optimism.
The Last Tree is magical because it is a different book with different meaning every time it is picked up. It speaks to each reader individually. I thought it was wonderful.
About Luke Adam Hawker