Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What Can the One and Only Ivan Do?

Ivan is a silverback, but he has lived away from his family for most of his life. He lives in what he refers to as his domain, and his domain happens to be a cage at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade off of I-95. Ivan’s best friends are Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog who shares his domain with him (on the sly). Ivan likes to spend his time drawing and painting. He has been an artist for as long as he can remember, but it feels so good to express himself in colors and textures. Some of his work is available for purchase at the gift shop. The owner of the Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, Mac, is not happy because people don't seem to be coming to the shows that take place three times a day, 365 days a year. He doesn't think Ivan is exciting enough. It doesn't help that people aren't as interested in Stella’s daily shows. Soon a new box arrives and in it is a baby elephant named Ruby. Ruby has never been confined to such a small space and she has a million questions for Stella and Ivan. When Stella gets sick she makes Ivan promise that he will get Ruby out of there so that she won't have the kind of life that they've had. But Ivan is a gorilla. Is there any way for him to communicate to anyone else that Ruby doesn't belong there? Is there anything Ivan can do? Will he be able to keep his promise? Is life outside of a cage better than life inside of one? You won’t want to miss the chance to look at life from Ivan’s point of view.

When I read The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate my heart went out to Ivan. As a young gorilla he was taken from the wild, along with his sister, Tag, and brought in a box to America. Tag couldn't take being out of the wild, but Ivan decided to forget all about the wild. Forgetting helped him enjoy TV shows, yogurt covered raisins, and other human treats. It made me think about how hard it would be to be separated from my family and put in a totally different environment. I loved hearing Ivan’s thoughts and his opinions about what the humans were saying. Stella was so sweet, and I felt sorry for her and the pain she had to go through in or order to perform. Ruby enchanted me with her questions and curiosity. I would recommend this book to anyone in fourth grade and up. It is a book about friendship, risks, and thinking outside the box. This book is for anybody with a love for animals, art, or both. I look forward to reading more books by this author.

Has anyone else read The One and Only Ivan? Or have you read another book by Katherine Applegate? We would love to hear your thoughts.

Happy Reading! ~L


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34 comments:

  1. sounds like a lovely story, thank you for sharing

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  2. I haven't read this yet, but have heard great things about it. I'm not really into stories with animal characters but I may have to try this. Thanks for sharing about it.

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    1. I had waited a while to read it because I wasn't sure how I would feel about the main character being a gorilla. But, the characters are really well done and their personalities helped me to connect to them. :) ~L

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  3. +JMJ+

    I saw this in the bookstore yesterday and almost bought it. I really wish I had now, because your review is great!

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    1. So glad you enjoyed the review Enbrethiliel. :) I hope you get to read it soon. ~L

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  4. Sounds like a must read for all animal lovers and such a lovely cover. Judging by the amount of people talking about this on FaceBook I'm sure its going to be a big hit.

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    1. Tracy- This is a book that animal lovers will adore. I agree that this will be a big hit! :) ~L

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  5. This sounds pretty sad! Hopefully it has a happy ending, but I hate that this happens in real life all too often.

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    1. Meradeth- It is sad, but hopeful too! :) I hope that the more people hear about these types of things, the less they will happen. ~L

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  6. I have not read it mostly because the cover breaks my heart...even with happy endings I just can not read animal books.

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    1. Patty- I can understand why you haven't picked this one up. There are parts that break your heart, but there are happy and hopeful parts too. :) ~L

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  7. A great review. I love to look at gorillas and other animals at the zoo and wonder what they are thinking about being caged. I suppose most of them don't remember anything different. I love animals of all sorts and this sound like an interesting book that address's the subject.

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    1. Thanks, Anna! This book really made me think about what it is like for animals to be caged in. Thanks for stopping by! :) ~L

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    1. Thanks, Nas! It is a great book! :) ~L

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  9. Thanks for highlighting this book. I'd love to read it to my grandboys when they're older.

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    1. Cate- Yeah! I hope they enjoy it and learn from it. :) ~L

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  10. Hadn't heard of this one before, but I loved the review. I wonder if my little would like it.

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    1. Crystal- So happy to introduce you to a new book. :) This could be read by a third grader (strong reader) or a parent and their child (still probably third grade and up). ~L

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  11. I haven't read this author, but I believe I have this book or another one of hers. I do want to read it.

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    1. Hi Medeia- If you already have it then I hope you get to read it soon. I have some of this authors other books on my TBR list. :) ~L

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  12. I haven't read this one yet, but I've heard good things about it.

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  13. Thanks for the info! Have a great weekend! :)

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    1. You are welcome, Karen. Have a great weekend, too! ~L

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  14. Thanks for the review! This looks like such a cute book. I've heard of it before, but I had forgotten about it.

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    1. Cherie- It is really good book. It has made me think. :) ~L

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    1. Erik- Yeah! Awesome to hear from another reader who also enjoyed The One and Only Ivan. :) ~L

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  16. I bought this book for my reading buddy at the local elementary school. I loved the beautiful language and seeing the world through Ivan's POV, but my buddy was completely bored. After a few sessions, I switched to one of the Wimpy Kids books, which holds the attention of a challenged reader much better. I still need to go back and read the rest of Ivan, but I was charmed by the parts I did read.

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    1. Jocelyn- I can imagine that The One and Only Ivan would be tough for a challenged reader. I am glad you enjoyed it and hope you get to finish it (the audio is great, too). The Diary of a Wimpy Kid is very popular with lots of kids. Thanks for stopping by! ~L

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  17. I have a feeling he expressed his concern for Ruby with his paintings which I just love. I really want to know what happened to Tag. I couldn't bear to be taken away from my family. I would think Ivan would be looking for her. This looks better than I thought.

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    1. Adriana- It was better than I thought it would be, too! I won't tell you what happened- but you have to read it. :) ~L

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