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Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite
The Last Rhino by Deborah Stevenson is a children's animal book that seeks to educate young readers on the horrific effects that poaching has had on rhinos. The story features a young rhino, Ayubu, as he struggles to survive in the unforgiving African jungle. Grazing under the warmth of the African sun, Ayubu has little knowledge of the danger that is concealed in the savannah, but this is about to change when an encounter with poachers robs him of his mother, Nthanda. Lonely and broken-hearted, Ayubu is forced to move on with his dear, faithful friend Imari, a cattle egret. Soon enough, Ayubu establishes a friendship with Raziya, the vivacious young elephant. Amid the good times, they encounter devastating experiences, but their unity prevails above all.
In the story The Last Rhino, Deborah Stevenson creates compelling characters in Ayubu and his friend, Raziya, who constantly face the threat of poaching. Ayubu loses most of his family to this heinous crime which opened my eyes to the extent and impact of poaching in Africa. As the population of rhinos sharply decreases, something needs to be done and fast. Poaching and encroachment have seen many rhinos killed, with the species being driven almost to the point of extinction. It is in this light that books such as The Last Rhino play a critical role in bringing up a generation that does not remain oblivious to the impact of poaching, but is educated on the steps that can be taken to ensure that rhinos not only survive, but thrive. The book is not only informative, but also interesting and thought-provoking.