Monday, August 10, 2015

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Book blurb from Amazon:
Winner of the 2013 Newbery Medal and a #1 New York Times bestseller, this stirring and unforgettable novel from renowned author Katherine Applegate celebrates the transformative power of unexpected friendship. Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this illustrated novel is told from the point of view of Ivan himself.
Having spent twenty-seven years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes.

My thoughts:
Wow!  I am not entirely sure where to start.  
I received this book from a young boy.  We were chatting one day and I asked him if he was a reader and if so what his favorite book was; his reply was immediate - 
"The One and Only Ivan.  Have you read it?" 
I replied that I had heard of it, but not read it, although I had a copy in a box at home.  He told me he would bring me his copy so I didn't have to look through boxes and I could read it right away.  This was a Thursday and I didn't see him again until the following Monday.  As soon as he saw me on Monday, he called out to me and took the book out of his backpack, he told me I could have it.  He had remembered  - I had forgotten he was planning to bring me the book.  
I absolutely loved this book.  It will go in my stack of "Must reads" for all the children in my world.  I found myself totally absorbed in the story - laughing aloud at times, and crying tears of both sadness and joy.
I will always be thankful that a young boy from a poor neighborhood cared enough about this story to give me his book - it is inspirational, heartbreaking, heartwarming and wonderful. Truly a book that should be read by everyone.

Biography (from Amazon)
Katherine was inspired to write The One and Only Ivan after reading about the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, the "Shopping Mall Gorilla." The real Ivan lived alone in a tiny cage for twenty-seven years at a shopping mall before being moved to Zoo Atlanta after a public outcry. He was a beloved celebrity at the zoo, which houses the nation's largest collection of western lowland gorillas, and was well known for his paintings, which he "signed" with a thumb-print.

Katherine Applegate's many books include the Roscoe Riley Rules chapter book series, a picture book entitled The Buffalo Storm, and the award-winning novel, Home of the Brave. With her husband, Michael Grant, she wrote the hugely popular series Animorphs, which has sold more than 35 million copies worldwide.