Monday, April 22, 2013

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

suitable for mature grade 4's to middle schoolers
305 pages long

    Based on real events, this lovely middle grade book will tug on your heartstrings and make you think.  Written in the first person from the perspective of Ivan the gorilla, the chapters are short and topical.  The sentence structure is simple, but the observations are very fresh.  We meet Ivan, who no longer remembers the jungle, Stella the elephant who cannot forget even as each day is filled with pain, Bob the dog who provides comfort but has no home of his own, and finally, Ruby- a baby elephant for whom Ivan and Stella want a better life.
       Beyond the animal world, there is Julie, a spunky young girl with a passion for art who loves the animals at the shopping mall and begins to understand Ivan's desire to change Ruby's world.  Working together, Ivan and Julie dream of a better life for the baby elephant and they use their art to make it happen.
       Kids will be challenged to think differently about the necessity of art; friendship; loyalty; freedom, pursuit of impossible dreams; the necessity for righteous protest and  stewardship over creation (especially the animals).   

fair warning: 1/2 dozen instances of offensive language; no blasphemy :-)

My animal-loving almost 11 year old loved this story... she laughed and cried... and that's always a good review of a book, isn't it?!

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