Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan - Katherine Applegate

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 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.
This gentle story with its readily lovable characters will promote thinking about the relationships between people and animals.  With brief chapters, sprinkling of humour and sweet illustrations, it would be an excellent read-aloud for middle grade and upper-grade students. Written from Ivan's perspective, it is a story of courage and kindness which will have children cheering for Ivan and his friends, as well as humanity. This story is beautifully written and would inspire children to make text-to-world connections about animal rights issues, particularly the treatment of animals in captivity. The One and Only Ivan is fiction, however the author provides notes at the end of the book about the real Ivan who inspired this story. An illustrated picture book version of this text has also been released.

Ivan : The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla - Katherine Applegate

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