Thursday, September 18, 2014

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Ivan is a silverback gorilla. He is trapped in a...domain is the word he chooses as it’s more dignified than cage. He is in a run-down mall in California and accompanied by an elderly elephant, Stella, and a stray dog, Bob. The mall is run by Mack, who loves Ivan and Stella but loves money more. George is the night maintenance man and his daughter, Julia, comes with him at night and sits by Ivan and Stella while her father cleans. Ivan is also an artist-loves to paint and draw and Julia shares his love of art. Over the years, the attendance is down and Mack, in an attempt to increase attendance, buys a baby elephant. This crushes Stella because it reminds her of her life and the pains she has suffered as a captured animal, especially since the baby elephant, Ruby, is so very sad about her loneliness and misses her family. On Stella’s deathbed, she makes Ivan promise to free Ruby. After Stella’s death, Ivan feels the weight of his promise. Will Ivan keep his promise?

The story is told by Ivan and his voice is simple and powerful is compelling. I enjoyed this tale. Definitely deserved the Newberry. Ages 9-12