|May Book Club Selection|
May Book Club
Theme: Children's literature
Book title: The One and Only Ivan
Date: Thursday May 4th, 7:30pm
Location: Sherrie's home
Harper Collins Discussion Guide
1. Did you enjoy the book? Why or why not?
2. What does Ivan mean when he says, “In my size humans see a test of themselves” (p. 4), and “I am too much gorilla and not enough human” (p. 7)? Why does the sign for the Big Top Mall show Ivan as angry and fierce?
3. What are the characteristics of Stella and Bob that make Ivan call them his best friends? Why is each of them important to Ivan? What characteristics do you value when forming close friendships?
4. What does Stella mean when she says, “Old age is a powerful disguise (p. 31)?
5. Discuss the special bond between Julia and Ivan. Why is she different from all the other children who come to see his shows?
6. What is the importance of the television in Ivan’s cage? What does he learn from watching the television (Westerns and nature shows)? What do you learn from television? What would you say is the most important thing television has taught you?
7. Why is Bob so independent? What makes him trust Ivan enough to sleep on Ivan’s stomach? What events in Bob’s life have shaped his personality? How does Bob’s experience with humans compare to Ivan’s?
8. Compare the personalities of Mack and George. How are they alike, and how are they different? What is the meaning of “family” to each of them? What are the contradictions in Mack’s character?
9. What does Stella mean when she says, “A good zoo is how humans make amends” (p. 64)? What is the importance of the story that Stella tells about Jambo (pp. 63-66)? What does it tell us about gorillas?
10. What is Ivan’s initial reaction to the arrival of Ruby? Compare Ruby’s arrival with that of a new baby in a human household. How does her arrival affect all the other animals at the mall? When and why do Ivan’s feelings about Ruby change?
11. Why does Ivan promise Stella that he will take care of Ruby when he knows how hard it will be to keep that promise? How does Ivan know that Stella is gone before anyone else does? Have you ever made a promise that you knew would be hard to keep?
12. What is the turning point in the story - what events come together to change Ivan's acceptance of the situation and to help him grow into his own strength and wisdom? When does Ivan start to believe that he will be able to help Ruby, and perhaps himself as well?
13. How does Julia convince her father that Ivan’s picture has a very important meaning? Why does George agree to help Julia display Ivan’s art on the billboard, even though he knows it might cost him his job? Discuss the meaning of the word “principle.” Have you ever stuck to your "principles" even though it would cost you?
14. Why is Ivan reluctant to join the other gorillas when he arrives at the zoo? What does he need to do to be accepted by the others? How do you feel when you are in a situation with others you don’t know?
15. Discuss the theme of belonging in this story, from the point of view of each of the characters. What is the meaning of belonging for each of them? What does the idea of belonging mean to you?
16. Would you recommend the book to others? Why or why not?
Because the silver-back gorilla is a plant eating animal from Africa, we'll be feasting on a vegetarian-African inspired menu for the evening...with recipe links provided
Baked Plantain Chips
Spicy Bamboo Salad
East African Mango-Cucumber Salad
Coconut rice (note: maggi cubes = bouillon cubes)
African Vegetable Curry
Lightened Monkey Bread (only because of it's name! A great "light" version recipe that is equally delicious, as I've made this many times)
Mandazi (these sound delicious: "East African Doughnuts made with grated coconut , spiced with cardamon, nutmeg and fried to perfection." Yum!)
Assorted "fruity" tea/drinks: Sherrie
Yogurt covered raisins: Sherrie