Friday, October 10, 2014

The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan
by Katherine Applegate

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Synopsis:  Ivan is an easygoing 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 things about it at all.

Instead, Ivan things about TV shows he's seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog.  But mostly Ivan things 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.
From the book jacket

Becky's Review:  It's hard to really like juvenile fiction books because they seem so young to me but this book was not like that.  I loved that the author told the story from the perspective of the gorilla.  Ivan  is an interesting character and he has depth even though he's a gorilla.  This was an uplifting story of an animal who cares for others and does everything within his power to help his friends.  The chapters went by very quickly and there wasn't much writing on each page.  I did find that a little fragmented but perhaps it was done that way since this book is intended for a much younger audience.  I would definitely recommend this book to kids and their parents.

Becky's Rating: 4 stars

Marcie's Review: I had NO IDEA that this book was written from the point of view of a gorilla, and I'm not sure I would have chosen to read it if I had known this in advance.  I'm thankful that I didn't know, because I loved this book!  It was so interesting to read about Ivan's perspective on humans, how people talk too much, use too many words, and buy too many ridiculous things.  He was a very observant and intelligent gorilla, and I think adults could pick up some of his lessons about people even more than kids might, making this an appropriate book for all ages.  I was surprised to find myself identifying with a few of the animals in the domain, and even crying about the experiences that they were going through.  Some pages only have a few sentences, and there are pictures interspersed throughout, so I read this book in about two hours. 

The biggest problem I had with this book was that I don't believe animals can have the depth of emotion that was portrayed in this book.  But it was certainly interesting (and educational) to think about how they would feel if they did.

Marcie's Rating: 4.5 stars

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