Apr 14, 2013

Kristen's Rave Reviews: The One and Only Ivan

Rave Review #1 The One and Only Ivan
I know we've posted a little something about this title before, but I thought this one is so good, it merits revisiting!  And who doesn't love a feel-good read? I always enjoy a story that isn't too complicated, but that also tugs at the heart strings and allows me to feel like I've connected somehow with the characters in the story.  Katherine Applegate's The One and Only Ivan does just that; probably one of the many reasons why this title won the Newbery Medal in January.

The Plot: Ivan is a four hundred-pound silverback gorilla with a heart of gold and a curious nature.  Ivan is also an artist who wishes to express what he sees within the confines of his glassed-in world at the Big Top Mall and Video Arcade.  Along with his friends Bob the stray dog, Stella an elderly and wise elephant, and Ruby the newcomer, Ivan shares with readers his reflections on a variety of things in everyday life and human nature.  But when big change affects everyone at the Big Top Mall, Ivan must focus on his gift of art to ease himself and his friends through the transition and to also help keep a promise.

The Verdict: Based on a true story about a gorilla named Ivan --read about the real Ivan here--, this is a title best shared together with younger ones as a read-aloud.  Expect some of Ivan's observances to prompt meaningful conversations with your young ones!  Adults who enjoyed titles such as The Art of Racing in the Rain and Tuesdays with Morrie will find this book equally appealing, inspiring, and a joy to read.