Thursday, March 1, 2012

The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan
by Katherine Applegate
Harper, 2012. 304 pgs. Fiction.

Ivan is a gorilla. "It's not as easy as it looks." Particularly if one's "domain" is a small cage in the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. Ivan's neighbor, Stella the elephant, has a bad foot but Mack, the proprietor of the Big Top Mall wants her to get well on her own because business is bad and he doesn't want to shell out for a vet. Business is so bad, in fact, that Mack brings in a baby elephant, Ruby, to pick up ticket sales. What happens from there you should discover for yourselves, but suffice it to say that Ivan uses a very unusual gift to deliver himself and his animal friends (including a smart-aleck dog named Bob) from a life of servitude to a degree of happiness and peace. The One and Only Ivan is a beautiful, gentle book about a beautiful, gentle primate and his friends--where they came from, why they should have stayed there, where they get to go. An unusually fine book about animals for middle grade readers.

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