Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What Can Ivan Do?

“It's never to late to be what you might have been” ~ Katherine Applegate, The One and Only Ivan

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. I heard she recently came out with a picture book version of the story called Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla and I can't wait to read it!

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.

Stop by Friday to read our interview with Katherine Applegate! 


Happy Reading! 

~L

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46 comments:

  1. Awe this does sound like a sweet book... I hope Ivan helps Ruby get free an in the meantime frees himself... xox

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    1. Launna- It is a very touching book! Ruby melted my heart. :) ~L

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  2. I read the book and I had to have tissue nearby. I would definitely read it again.

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    1. Medeia- I had to have tissues too! Such a great story. :) ~L

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  3. Gosh, I bought this and my son grabbed it and is reading - and I am so eager to read this book! I can just tell it will be a heartwarming and emotional read. My son says its sooooo good. Thanks for the reminder to tell him to hurry up and finish!

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    1. Donna- Glad to hear your son grabbed it and is reading it. You will love it! It is definitely an emotional read. :) ~L

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  4. Book looks awesome! Love the cover. :)

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    1. Julie- I agree that the cover is great and the book is awesome! :) ~L

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  5. This sounds like a sweet theme! I haven't read it but plan to do so soon!

    betty

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    1. Betty- It is a sweet theme and such a well-written story. :) ~L

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  6. I'm sure I would cry while reading this one.

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    1. TBM- I cried and think you will too! :) ~L

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  7. Sounds wonderful! I'd probably cry through most of it.

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    1. Joylene- It is a great book and I did cry while reading it. :) ~L

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  8. I haven't read this yet, but it is on my TBR list. Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. Rosi- You are welcome and you will love it when you get to it! :) ~L

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  9. Loving the cover. This sounds like an adorable read.

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    1. Tracy- The cover is great! It is a wonderful read. :) ~L

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  10. I've seen this book, but have never read it. It sounds like a good one.

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    1. Sherry- I hope you get a chance to read it- you will love it. :) ~L

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  11. I have read it. Sad (very sad) and beautiful. And a wonderful book to start people thinking about other species and what we do to them.

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    1. Elephant's Child- I am glad to hear you read it. I agree that it is a wonderful book, and it is definitely sad. ~L

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    1. M Pax- It is a great book! :) ~L

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  13. I haven't read it yet, but it's been in the middle of my giant TBR pile for quite awhile. Hopefully I'll get to it some day.:-)

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    1. Jocelyn- You will love it when you get to it. Good luck with your TBR pile. :) ~L

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  14. OK I read this and I am almost in tears because they sound so sad. I want a happy ending and when i read Stella is ill i fear she will die and that saddens me. Look at me...I want them all to be happy:) Does it end nice:)

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    1. Brigit- It is a book that is definitely worth reading- even though it is sad. You will have moments of sadness and there are moments of happiness too. I think you will like the ending- but I can't give anything away. :) ~L

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  15. Nice review. It sounds so sad but perhaps with meaningful lessons. Perhaps it is all about finding peace with what we are handed in life because brighter times may be ahead. I hope there is a happy ending. Esp. because it sounds like this is based on a true story.

    I like that you tied the riddle into the book review.

    I answered the riddle correct!

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    1. Lauren- So glad you enjoyed the review. I think it is a great book to help people learn about animals in captivity. The One and Only Ivan is based on a true story, and the ending was satisfying. :) I can't say anymore about it.

      Awesome job on the riddle. We have one every week and tie it in to our review in some way. :) ~L

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  16. Aw, I think my heart would certainly be with him as well

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  17. Sounds like a strong, and sad yet also inspiring, story. My heart goes out to Ivan, too. I have had this book on my to-read list since it was out.

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    1. Claudine- When you get to The One and Only Ivan you will love the writing and the story line (as well as Ivan and friends). :) ~L

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  18. I've heard of this one several times and it looks soooo good! It's definitely on my list :) Great review!

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    1. Meradeth- Thanks! I think you will really enjoy it when you get to it! :) ~L

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  19. Katherine Apple-gate is the wife to Michael Grant who is an author I really love! An awful lot! And I have read a book they both co-wrote and loved it as well. I have yet to read a book solely by her though, and I am glad you managed to like this one. I didn't know she wrote middle grade fiction as well :P

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    1. Olivia- I didn't know that Katherine is the wife of Michael Grant. Cool! I think that is awesome that they co-wrote a book together. I love learning new facts like that. This was a really well written book and a story for kids and adults. :) ~L

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  20. Poor gorilla :( I do hope they never become extinct, but...it will probably happen soon

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    1. Blodeuedd- I hope they don't become extinct too! I feel like I know Ivan! :) ~L

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  21. I haven't read the book, yet, but hope to. I've always felt sorry for the animals at the zoo. They seem to look at you with such sad eyes. Imagine living your life in a cage. Not much fun. Great review.

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    1. Beverly- My heart goes out to animals at the zoo too. I know some times animals have been rescued or rehabilitated. Otherwise- I have always felt so sorry for them to have to live in such a limited space. This is a wonderful book and I know you will enjoy it. :) ~L

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  22. This sounds like a book that would make me cry - which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I'm really torn when it comes to zoos - I hate that the animals are caged up, yet it's the only way I will ever get to see a number of species. It bothers me a lot more with the animals that have very large territories in the wild, and the ones that are highly intelligent - I count both elephants and gorillas among the latter.

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    1. Lark- I think it will probably make you cry, but there are happy parts too. I agree that it is important for animals to have the space they need to live happily. I am glad that many animals that have been caged up have been moved to animal sanctuaries. :) ~L

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  23. I really don't know if I want to read this book. I think I suffer from it's-just-too-popular-so-it-can't-be-good thinking which is completely ridiculous of me to think. One day I'll read it! Especially since you liked it so much (:

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    1. Adriana- You might enjoy listening to it on audio. I thought the audio was really well done. I know what you mean- sometimes it is hard to read a book everyone is raving about. I know when you get to The One and Only Ivan you will love it. :) ~L

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