This monday, I want to review a Newbery Award winning book, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. Goodreads description of the book says it best:
Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.
Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.
Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.
Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.
In the beginning of the book I didn’t feel sorry for Ivan. Though, he was captive and he lost his family he was content with his life at the mall and didn’t question much of anything, but Ruby opened Ivan’s eyes to the possibility of a better life.
Appelgate did an amazing job developing her characters and setting to really make her readers become attached and absorbed into the story (RIP Stella-phant).
Her sentence-level or language was very easy to read, but in it were very complex and important real-life issues like the mistreatment and exploitation of exotic animals. Her perspective on these issues made me change mine. Last week, I put myself into these animals shoes (cages) and really thought about how misunderstood these animals truly are.
This novel was emotionally satisfying to me because unlike many of the adult novels that I read, this one closed on a positive note. Many of the conflicts are resolved and Ivan accomplished his one goal to produce a happy ending for his friends and himself.