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Last: The Story of a White Rhino

Nicola Davies
Tiny Owl
Age 7-9 years

A young rhino lives in a zoo in a bleak grey city. He remembers a happier time with his mama before she was killed, and he was captured. He fears he is the last rhino alongside other creatures facing the same fate. But he has one frequent visitor, a young girl who when she grows up decides to do take action to help.

Last is based on the real-life story of a white rhino named Sudan. It highlights the plight of rhinos and includes a hopeful, positive message that things can change if people take action. Here is the author’s message at the beginning of the book:

‘I believe the world can change for the better, but it will change one heart at a time. Change your heart, change the world.’


Share the story

Before sharing the story look at the cover together and think about what the story might be about, what the title might mean and what your child already knows about rhinos.

Read the story aloud, pausing to talk about what is happening in the story or illustrations.

After finishing the story, there is information about the real Sudan to read at the back of the book.

Talk about the book

  • When you have finished look back through the book and notice the girl, imagine what she is thinking and feeling in the early pictures and what she might be doing in the later pictures.

  • Talk about how the rhino might feel at different points in the story.

  • Talk about anything puzzling, for example your child might wonder what happens to the rhino’s mother and you might want to pause to talk about rhinos being hunted for their tusks, see links below to find out more.

Things to make and do

Be an interviewer
You and your child could imagine you are a reporter and the girl in the story and have an imaginary interview about her interest in the rhino and returning him to the wild.

Plot the rhino’s journey
Find Kenya and the Czech Republic in an atlas or on a globe and plot Sudan’s journey.

 Make a collage or a painting

Look closely at Nicola Davies illustrations the ones of the rhino in the zoo are grey and include lots of text.

Collect strips of newspaper in different shades of grey and cut up to make a rhino picture.

Paint a colourful picture of the rhino in Africa.

Make a leaflet

Your child could make a leaflet about the plight of the rhino, a piece of A4 paper folded in half is fine. Have a look at the links below for information first. If you have access to a printer which makes copies you could print a few of the leaflets to give to family an friends or scan an email them to spread the word!

Find out more

Nicola Davies – Children’s Author (

Find out more about Sudan and endangered rhinos on this BBC Newsround Last male northern white rhino Sudan has died – CBBC Newsround

Find out about ways to save the rhino Save the Rhino International | Rhino Conservation Charity

Watch a video about caring for Sudan Caring for Sudan, the World’s Most Famous Rhino – YouTube

Read more books by Nicola Davies, titles include:

The Promise with Laura Carlin

King of the Sky with Laura Carlin

Flying Free with Cathy Fisher

The Pond with Cathy Fisher

The Day the War Came with Rebecca Cobb

Just Ducks with Salvatore Rubbino

The Big Blue Whale with Nick Maland

Tiny the invisible world of microbes  with Emily Sutton

Lots – the diversity of life on earth with Emily Sutton