The Last Zookeeper (Hardcover)

The Last Zookeeper By Aaron Becker, Aaron Becker (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Aaron Becker, Aaron Becker (Illustrator)
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A master of the wordless form imagines a futuristic Noah’s Ark in a luminous sci-fi parable for our changing world.

The Earth has flooded. The only signs of humankind are the waterlogged structures they left behind. Peeking out from the deluge are the remnants of a zoo, home to rare and endangered animals, survivors of long neglect. Tender-hearted NOA is a construction robot who’s found new purpose as the caretaker of the zoo’s beleaguered inhabitants. Bracing for the next storm, NOA builds an ark from the wreckage in search of new land and a new home, only to discover something even more profound. With boundless compassion and sweeping scenes of sea and sky punctuated by detailed wordless panels to pore over, Caldecott Honor–winning creator Aaron Becker delivers a timely and concrete message about the rewards of caring in even the most difficult of times that is sure to inspire the dreamers among us.

About the Author

Aaron Becker is the best-selling author of the award-winning Journey trilogy and other books for children young and old, including The Tree and the River and A Stone for Sascha. When he’s not home with his wife and two daughters, he can be found creating something new in his backyard studio in western Massachusetts.

Praise For…

Minute details pepper each scene, giving sharp-eyed readers the chance to find something new every time they page through this book. . . True fans will find themselves poring over these pictures for hours. Epic storytelling erupts on the page without the use of a single word. Superb.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

This beguiling ark story, splendidly drafted in wordless spreads, stars a robot zookeeper who combines the spare-parts body of Wall-E with the gentle bearing of Amos McGee. . . underscores the power of practical measures, and holds out the promise of hope.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

This wordless picture book invites repeat readings to catch the intricate artistic details—clever and thoughtful decisions about color, perspective, and framing result in a visual treasure. The fact that everything centers on the zoo mirrors a sci-fi Noah’s Ark that prioritizes saving what can be saved (indeed, the robot’s only designation is “nöa” on its arm).
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)

The master of wordless picture books returns with this moving retelling of Noah’s ark that speaks to an uncertain future.
—Foreword Reviews (starred review)

In another visionary wordless picture book by multiple award-winning author-illustrator Becker, an endearing, gigantic yellow-bodied robot wearing a quiver of wind turbines tends to the feeding of zoo animals. . . . In this gentle postapocalyptic fable, presented through scenes both breathtaking and charmingly inventive, an ingenious and courageous struggle for survival yields a tender and hopeful ending.

Becker’s characteristically virtuosic ink and watercolor paintings offer much for young readers to pore over and peer at. . . Others will find the story and the questions it poses lingering long after the book is closed.
—The Horn Book

Wordless, yet carries a timely, vital message. Five years ago, I would have called this sci-fi. Today, I call it our reality. The wordless format will invoke such meaningful conversations among people of all ages.
—Lorie Barber, Anderson’s Bookshop
Product Details
ISBN: 9781536227680
ISBN-10: 1536227684
Publisher: Candlewick
Publication Date: March 26th, 2024
Pages: 40
Language: English