Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Ivan: The Remarkable Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla

 Cover image for Ivan : the remarkable true story of the shopping mall gorilla
Ivan: The Remarkable Story  of the Shopping Mall Gorilla
by Katherine Applegate
illustrated by Brian Karas
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014. Nonfiction, 32 p.

Katherine Applegate won the Newbery Medal in 2013 for her book, The One and Only Ivan.  This is a picture book nonfiction that tells the story the inspired her novel.  Ivan was born in Africa, but was captured when he was still a baby and sold to a man  in Washington State.  The man owned a shopping mall and wanted to display Ivan and other animals as a way to attract people to his business.  Ivan lived in a small inclosure in the mall with cement floors and a large window wall for many years until people began to feel bad that he was not in a more natural habitat.  Finally, Ivan was moved to a zoo where he was able to enjoy nature and the company of other gorillas.  Ms Applegate does a good job telling Ivan's story with simple words, and without too much sentimentality.  Karas' watercolor and pastel illustrations subtly communicate sympathy for Ivan's plight.  This is a great book to read before Ms Applegate's visit at the Provo Library Children's Book Festival in May.

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