The One and Only Ivan
By Katherine Applegate
Harper, 2012. 305 pgs. Middle Grade Fiction
Ivan is a gorilla who has spent 27 years in captivity, living in a cage at The Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. For most of his life, he's been content with this. His "domain" isn't too bad--he can do artwork and watch TV and talk to his friends Bob (a dog) and Stella (an elephant). He's had little chance to be a true silverback, the head gorilla who protects his family. But when Ruby, a baby elephant, becomes the newest attraction, she opens Ivan's eyes, helping him see that made his domain isn't all it's cracked up to be. Soon, Ivan is finding out what it means to be a silverback as he tries to make things better for Ruby.
Awwww cute! Let me say that again--AWWW! I loved this one. It's actually one of those books that I absolutely can't wait to read with my children. I love Ivan! He's so sweet, and Ruby is an adorable little friend for him. Besides being beautifully written (and includes great illustrations, too), this book manages to carefully consider the issue of animal imprisonment, while not becoming didactic. It's thought-provoking and sad and happy and hopeful and I love it! Great choice for fans of Kate DiCamillo.
5 stars. Clean read.