The last panther

Todd Mitchell

Book - 2017

"An eleven-year-old girl discovers a family of panthers that were thought to be extinct. But when others find out they are alive, too, she must risk everything to save the species"--

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New York : Delacorte Press [2017]
First edition
Physical Description
246 pages ; 22 cm
Main Author
Todd Mitchell (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

In a not-too-distant future, Kiri lives in a very different world. She and her father, a "waller," dwell in a swamp near the coastal village where the "fugees" live. Animals such as giraffes, narwhals, polar bears, and other "once-were" creatures now exist only in the books Kiri's dad keeps safely tucked away. When Kiri comes across a panther and her cubs, she promises she will do all she can to protect them, and in the process, Kiri learns what happened to many once-were creatures and the true nature of her father's work, as well as the root of some of the tension between her father and the villagers. Told in vivid, heartbreaking detail and filled with strong, developed characters, this novel, an eerie cautionary tale about the dangers of not protecting the environment, tackles an important theme in a compelling way. In Kiri, young readers will find a protagonist who, although at times afraid, finds the courage to do what she believes to be right. A fantastical tale with roots in real-world issues. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 4–7—Mitchell's latest novel transports readers to a future where people are divided over the preservation of wildlife and their natural environment. Eleven-year-old Kiri lives outside the city's walls with her father in the jungle. Her father, a scientist, works diligently to protect wildlife in the jungle. Although Kiri loves her father, his job often puts them at odds with the nearby villagers. When Kiri encounters a panther that everyone thinks is extinct, she tries to shield the creature from the people in the village, who need the animal to survive, and her father, who wants to cage the panther in a zoo. Kiri's desire to safeguard the panther and bring understanding between the villagers and her father takes her on a dangerous and exciting adventure. Mitchell has crafted a story that will not only engage readers but also prompt them to ask important questions about conservation and what it means to protect wildlife. The future world Mitchell has created is not completely fleshed out, but the action and mystical encounters make the book difficult to put down. Teachers can connect this absorbing tale to lessons on ecology, endangered species, social structures, and more. VERDICT An important addition on a timely subject. Hand to fans of Carl Hiaasen's Hoot.—Aileen Barton, Choctaw Public Library, OK Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Possessing a secret ability to summon wild animals, 11-year-old Kiri embarks on a dangerous journey to save a last known Florida panther from her conservationist father, who wants to put the panther in a zoo, and village poachers, who would sell the panther to feed their families. By the author of The Traitor King.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

For animal lovers and fans of The One and Only Ivan and Hoot, this is the uplifting story of a girl who discovers a family of panthers that were thought to be extinct, and her journey to save the species.   Eleven-year-old Kiri has a secret: wild things call to her. More than anyone else, she’s always had a special connection to animals.   But when Kiri has an encounter with the last known Florida panther, her life is quickly turned on end. Caught between her conservationist father, who wants to send the panther to a zoo, and the village poachers, who want to sell it to feed their families, Kiri must embark on a journey that will take her deep into the wilderness.   There has to be some way to save the panther, and for her dad and the villagers to understand each other. If Kiri can’t figure out what it is, she’ll lose far more than the panthers—she’ll lose the only home she’s ever known, and the only family she has left.2018 Green Earth Book Award Honor2018 Colorado Book Award WinnerCAL Book Award WinnerGreen Prize for Sustainable Literature Award WinnerA Bank Street "Best Children's Book of the Year" A National Geographic Giant Traveling Map of Florida Selection"A powerful tale of a future to be avoided." —Kirkus Reviews"An eerie cautionary tale about the dangers of not protecting the environment, tackles an important theme in a compelling way...a fantastical tale with roots in real-world issues." —Booklist"Earnest, heartfelt, and passionate, this book will likely inspire new environmentalists." —Bulletin"A boldly original, profoundly wise, deeply moving book. It’s a rare gift to any reader, as well as to our planet.” —T. A. Barron, best-selling author of the Merlin Saga