Monday, October 17, 2016

The One and Only Ivan: An Unforgettable Award Winning Crossover Novel

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate is one of my favorite novels. This is a story of hope and resilience. It illustrates how an unexpected friendship can change your life. It may seem odd that this hauntingly beautiful tale is told by Ivan, a silverback gorilla. However once you read won't question it any longer.  Ivan lives at the Big Top Shopping Mall in a glass enclosure on display. People stop and watch him daily as he paints. Yes, Ivan enjoys painting. He is quite happy with his painting and enjoys talking with his friends. His friends Stella, an elderly elephant and Bob, a stray dog, enrich his life. 

His life begins to change when Ruby, a baby elephant arrives.  Ruby, as all children do, questions everything and, when she asks Ivan where he lived before he was at the Big Top, he begins remembering, and his life transforms. He does not recall being free, but he has a vague recollection of green bushes. As his past begins to resurface, Ivan starts painting pictures of what he recalls. One child notices, and as all children do, asks questions.

This NY Times best-selling novel is a Newbery Award winner. I urge you to read this book. If you can't get past the idea that this is a children's book, find a child, a grandchild, a niece, a nephew, and read it to them. You and the child will fall in love with Ivan and his friends!

If you are still apprehensive about reading a children's book, let me give you additional incentive. This is a fictionalized account based on a true story of Ivan, a gorilla who lived for nearly three decades in a shopping mall.  Public outcry helped the real Ivan get a new home at Zoo Atlanta, where he became a beloved celebrity for his paintings. This was made into a nonfiction story called, Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla

I urge you to make time to read this beautiful story. If you have time, read both books. 


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