The Last Leopard (Hardcover)

By Wenxuan Cao, Rong Li (Illustrator)

Starfish Bay Publishing, 9781760360887, 44pp.

Publication Date: December 1, 2019

List Price: 16.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Follow the moving journey of a lone leopard in his search to find other leopards. Along his journey, he meets other creatures, constantly questioning whether he is the last leopard in the world. His wish is, in part, granted when he finally sees another leopard—but not in the way one would expect. This bittersweet tale of loneliness and extinction, along with its beautiful illustrations of the grasslands, is bound to touch readers profoundly.

About the Author

Wenxuan Cao is a professor of Chinese literature at Peking University in China. In 2016, he became the first Chinese author to receive the Hans Christian Andersen Award. His work has been translated into English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, and more. Rong Li, born in 1980 in Shanghai, grew up in Nanjing, China. She enjoys writing, drawing, and creating animations. Currently residing in Beijing, she runs a children’s publishing house.

Praise For The Last Leopard

"In the ‘vast and boundless’ wilderness, a leopard roams in hopes he’s not alone. Searching for another of its kind, the leopard encounters the harshness of nature. Thirsty, he can drink ‘only on rainy days’ as the rest of the time ‘the sun beat[s] down…like a burning fireball in the sky.’ Days into his journey, still ‘not a single leopard’ is to be found. Soon he does, however, meet several creatures, including a pigeon, a groundhog, and an oak tree—each one wondering if it too is the only one of its kind left in the world. In each exchange, the leopard comforts his new acquaintance and is comforted in return. Despite his discouragement, he continues to rally and to persist. A final encounter with a pond after a rainstorm brings bittersweet solace. Cao’s patient, undeterred leopard is compelling, though the storytelling can be unsubtle if heartbreaking (particularly the conclusion). The uncredited translation feels stilted at times, and line breaks in wordy passages as well as the text placement sometimes disrupt the flow. Li’s textured full-color art depicts the wilderness primarily in blues, yellows, and browns. Rainy spreads set in black highlight the leopard’s relief in quenching his thirst and work in contrast to the leopard’s climactic water encounter, done in the dominant palette. A contemplative, sobering extinction story. (Picture book. 6-9)" — Kirkus Reviews