Monday, May 7, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The One and Only Ivan

Today’s pick:  The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Harper Collins, 2012

From the publisher:
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.

My Take: 
I really enjoyed this story of Ivan, a male silverback gorilla living as a roadside attraction at a shopping mall. It’s a story about family, friendship and the feeling of home, told from the point of view of the gorilla. This story really tugged at my emotions. I loved the simple, but poetic language, and the verse style in short chapters that fit so well with the gorilla narrator. I read the entire novel in one afternoon, partly because the writing was easy to read, but also because I was so wrapped up in the story.

This novel explores some of the same issues as Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel, but in a different way.

Favourite quotes:
“Humans waste words. They toss them like banana peels and leave them to rot. Everyone knows banana peels are the best part.”

“Humans. Sometimes they make chimps look smart.”

Other Info:
According to the Simon and Schuster website, Ms. Applegate has written over one hundred books under her own name and a variety of pseudonyms.

She is married to author Michael Grant. Together they wrote books in the Animorphs series.
According to the book jacket, the inspiration from this novel came from reading about the true story of Ivan, the Shopping Mall Gorilla.

Other books by this author include:
Eve and Adam (to be released October 2012) – YA, with Michael Grant

Home of the Brave - MG

Roscoe Riley Rules (series) – chapter book
Tan Lines (Summer series) - YA
Sun Kissed Christmas (Summer series) - YA
Spring Break (Summer series) - YA

Beach Blondes (Summer series) - YA

Looking for more MMGM? Check out these links:
  • Joanne Fritz
  • Shannon Messenger
  • Shannon O'Donnell
  • Myrna Foster
  • Ally Beecher
  • Barbara Watson
  • Deb Marshall
  • Anita Laydon Miller's Middle Grade Blog
  • Middle Grade Mafioso
  • Literary Rambles
  • Ms. Yingling Reads
  • Jennifer Rumberger
  • Pam Torres
  • The Accidental Novelist
  • G.S. Prendergast
  • Gina Carey
  • Laurisa White Reyes
  • Marshall and Emiline
  • Dorine White
  • Temre Beltz

    1. I haven't heard of this one but it sounds terrific and very unique!

    2. Great review. I have been hearing about this. I don't usually read animal stories but I may have to check it out.

    3. I LOVED this novel, Andrea. Thanks for keeping it in the spotlight.

      1. Michael, I got it from the library but it's definitely a book I'd consider purchasing.

    4. I'm really eager to read this one! :)

    5. I so loved this book. The perspective and what you gather from that perspective is a beautiful thing -- walking in someone else's shoes is a valiant thing.

    6. Ah, what a sweet sounding book. My nephew would love it. Thanks for the recommendation!

    7. I too LOVED this book. I loved the simplicity of the writing (some people consider it a novel in verse, but I just thought it was very simple yet elegant prose) and I loved Ivan's profound thoughts and the way he decides to help Ruby.

      Wouldn't surprise me in the least if this book wins a Newbery.

      1. I loved it too - I think it's one of the best books I've read so far in 2012.

    8. This is on my to-read list. So glad to see another positive commendation!

    9. Those are great quotes.

      I'm adding this to my wish list.


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