Last Wild Place, Canadian cover

Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2009
Paperback edition, CDN$12.95
ISBN 978-1-55455-146-0

Last Wild Place, US cover

Peachtree Publishers, 2008
Hardback edition, US$15.95
ISBN 978-1-56145-458-7


Chip Martin’s biggest problem so far this year has been deciding whether he’ll try out for soccer or baseball in seventh grade. But now things are getting complicated. His brother Justin is away at college and his older sister Kate is busy with high school activities. His mother’s lifelong friendship with Booker Wilson has suddenly taken a romantic turn. And now his best friend Luther won’t speak to him. Even worse, Chip has to face the possibility of being uprooted himself. Feeling friendless and alone, Chip explores the marshy woods on an abandoned farm near his home. There he discovers something unbelievable: a family of Florida panthers that has been driven out of its home in the Florida Everglades.

Alarmed when he hears that the few acres of woodland where the panthers have holed up is about to be cleared to make way for a meatpacking plant, Chip concocts a plan to protect them and the wild place–the very last wild place in this area of cultivated farms. He eventually learns that he has more friends than he thought, and that they all want the same thing–to find a safe home for wild animals. And if they’re lucky, a safe place for themselves, too.

The Last Wild Place is the third in a series that begins with Lost Goat Lane and The Goatnappers. The stories follow chronologically but each is told from a different character’s point of view–the first that of 13-year-old Kate, the second that of 15-year-old Justin, and this one through the eyes of almost-13-year-old Chip and his friend Luther.


2008 American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Henry Bergh Young Adult Award, given annually to “books that promote the humane ethic of compassion and respect for all living things."

2008 Green Earth Honor Book, “for books that inspire a child to grow a deeper appreciation, respect, and responsibility for the natural environment, and best raise awareness of the beauty of the natural world and the responsibility that we have to protect it."

Pennsylvania School Librarians Association 2009 Young Adult Top Forty list

Kansas State Reading Circle 2009 Recommended Reading List (Intermediate Level)

2010 Prairie Bud Children’s Book Award Nominee (selected by South Dakota Library Association, South Dakota Reading Council, South Dakota State Library, and South Dakota Elementary School Principals)


What a touching read this was. The Last Wild Place, written by Rosa Jordan, is just one of those books that will touch your heart and make you want more from the author instantly. Love and wonder is shown in two very different aspects, human life and the environment, that turn out to not be that different after all. Chip Martin is a pretty ordinary kid, except that his mom is now dating an old family friend and his best pal in the world will no longer speak to him. He begins to feel quite alone in his world, with the thoughts of moving in his head and his one friend gone. Chip begins exploring the marshes and woods behind a local abandoned farm, shocked to find a family of panthers that has been driven out of their home by a recent hurricane and constant land development. Forming almost a bond with the panthers, both being alone in the world and having to move from their home, Chip vows to protect them when a meat-packing plant decides to take the last bit of land they have left. There is an intense feeling of love in this story, between Chip and the panthers, his family, his friends, and everyone in between. Even though Chip often feels alone in his little world, he soon discovers how many people are behind him and support him in everything he does. This is a great novel for middle graders or young adults and one that you may even want to read together.”
Patchwork of Books.

Jordan returns with another eco-friendly novel featuring the Martin family. Now that Justin is away at college, Chip, 12, is the man of the house. His mother has become romantically involved with his friend Luther's uncle. The town's community center is providing a temporary home to families who were displaced by a recent Gulf Coast hurricane, and as Luther befriends some of those kids, he seems to be distancing himself from Chip. Seeking solace at a deserted property that he and Luther discovered several years earlier, Chip makes an amazing discovery: two Florida panther cubs have somehow traveled from the Everglades to the abandoned site and have established a home there. Chip has visions of befriending the animals, but the future of all the wildlife in the marshy sanctuary is unexpectedly put into danger when a construction crew arrives to raze the barn and turn the property into a meat-packing plant. When the adults fail to come up with an immediate solution to protect the animals, Chip and his classmates take matters into their own hands. Reminiscent of Carl Hiaasen's Hoot (Knopf, 2002), The Last Wild Place is an empowering story of friendship and kids who step up to make a difference. Sprinkled liberally with environmental messages, it manages to avoid crossing the line into didacticism. The characters are fully realized and the plot moves along at a good clip. While readers of Jordan's first two stories will enjoy meeting up with familiar characters, the novel easily stands alone.”
Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA. School Library Journal,