Thursday, November 28, 2013

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

The story is told from the point of view of Ivan, an adult male gorilla that has spent most of his live in a cage in a mall.  He is friends with some other mall animals, including a dog called Bob and an Elephant called Stella.  The mall is struggling financially, so the mall owner, Max, jumps at the opportunity to acquire a baby elephant to add to the show.  Ruby brings new life and enthusiasm to the mall menagerie, and both Stella and Ivan become very attached to her.  When Stella becomes ill and is about to die, she makes Ivan promise he will find a way to get Ruby out of the mall and into a proper zoo.  Ivan likes to draw, so he uses his artistic skills to send a message to the world that Ruby needs a better home.
Cover image for The one and only Ivan
This was the Newbery winner for this year.  I didn't read it for a while after it was released, because I had heard it was kind of sad and I wasn't really ever in a mood to read a sad book.  It was a little sad, but I ended up liking the book.  Ms Applegate does a good job creating a believable voice for Ivan and the other animals.  The book is based on a true story, and she really explores all the complicated emotions animals in that kind of situation might have.  I can see why a committee of adults would choose it for an award.  It would be a great book for a grade school or even junior high reading groups to read and discuss.  There are so many ethical questions it brings up, but also questions about friendship, leaving a familiar place to make a better start, and non-violent protest.  I don't know how many kids would pick it up and read it for fun. The cover is nothings special  and it starts a little slowly.  Once they got into it, they would probably enjoy it. (305p)

No comments:

Post a Comment