Monday, February 10, 2014

{Book Review} The One and Only Ivan By: Katherine Applegate

The One and Only Ivan
Illustrator: Patricia Castelao
Pub. Date: January 17, 2012
Age Level: 8 - 12 • Grade Level: 3 - 7
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 978-0-0619-9225-4
Page Count: 320pp

2013 Newberry Medal Winner | ALA-ALSC Childrens Notale Book | A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year | Kirkus Reviews - Best Children or Starred Review

Ivan is an easy going gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.

One of my favorite childrens' books to date. The best part is that The One and Only Ivan can be read by all ages and enjoyed equally. The book is written for ages 8 to 12 but older middle graders and adults will love it just the same. I guarantee that. The story is heartwarming with such honesty even when told from a gorilla's point of view. When you begin to read you are immediately drawn in by Ivan's voice. Yes the story is told from Ivan the gorilla's point of view. So the kids will love that as much as I did. The plus side for parents is that each page has a few sentences that are short and simple and in journal type style writing. As far as the story itself there are moments of sadness when a character dies and gets mistreated. With all that you will see that the story is not depressing and does end with a happy ending. Think Disney movie and that's is how the book flows. Back to the sad parts, even though they are sad, I don't feel that they are too sad for children to read. It's like when you read Charlotte's Web or watched Finding Nemo style of sadness. This book is definitely a great choice for a young reader, it will be easy for them to get through the pages and story without having difficulty. And if your a teacher, I would recommend this book to be read out loud in class. 

Ivan has been in a cage for over 27 years in a mall, he lives alone inside that cage. Ivan is a Silverback Gorilla that did come from the jungles of Africa when he was young but now Ivan has accepted his life. Ivan loves to paint and create artwork which sometimes he might eat. He does have animal friends that also live in the mall and recently a new baby elephant joins them called Ruby. And this is about the time that Ivan realizes that something must be changed while retelling some of the horrible things that has happen to him. You will cheer Ivan and Ruby the whole time as he is set on getting Ruby back home. 

Overall, this book will teach whoever reads this heartwarming story about love, loss and hope. 

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