Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The One and Only Ivan

Newberry Medal Winner of 2013

Author: Katherine Applegate

Ivan is a gorilla living at the Big Top Mall, where he is observed by humans through glass walls.  He rarely thinks about his prior life in the jungle and instead focuses on TV shoes, and his friends.  Most of the time Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a fruit.  His world changes when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant, and see his home and art through new eyes.  This narration in Ivan's perspective is a story of friendship, art and hope.

You may recognize the name Katherine Applegate because with her husband she wrote the popular series Animorphs.  In this new story for levels 3 to 6, she writes about a gorilla names Ivan that is living at a mall.  What seems like a presumptuousness story is actually based on a true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, the Shopping Mall Gorilla.  The real Ivan lived in solitary in a small cage located in a shopping mall for 27 years.  After public outcry he was moved to the Zoo Atlanta.  He is now one of the biggest attractions at the zoo, which houses the largest collection of lowland gorillas in the nation.  Ivan has gained much recognition for his paintings, which he "signs" with his thumb print.  

A good story to have your young readers try out or to read to your children at bed time. I mean how crazy that this story was actually based on true events! I couldn't believe it! And what child wouldn't be intrigued in a story of an art loving gorilla. 

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