The Late, Great Endlings: Stories of the Last Survivors

Orca. Oct. 2022. 32p. Tr $21.95. ISBN 9781459827660.
Gr 1-4–”Endlings” is a term coined by Dr. Robert Webster to describe the last of a species. Unfortunately, over the last 500 years, thousands of species have gone extinct. This lovely picture book documents a few of them. The text consists of rhyming couplets about the animal and then a short paragraph that goes into more detail about what made the animal special and how the entire species became extinct. Animals profiled include a Tasmanian tiger, a Polynesian tree snail, and a Carolina parakeet. There are beautiful watercolor images of each endling. The last page includes a list of suggested activities that would prevent animal extinction, such as dispensing with single-use straws and cups, and using bicycles instead of cars. This book would make a good introduction to the idea of extinction and how people have affected animals (and habitats) through hunting and environmental destruction. The complex vocabulary in the couplets may require additional explanations for some younger readers.
VERDICT A short, beautifully illustrated text with high-level vocabulary; a solid addition to libraries needing more books discussing extinction and its cost.

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