Sunday, April 1, 2012

The One and Only Ivan - Book Review

I've been reading The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate to my boys this last month or so. It's a clever and fast-paced novel about Ivan, a silver back gorilla that has spent most of his life in captivity. He lives in a small cage in a circus-themed mall with an aging elephant and a stray dog to keep him company. When the mall acquires a sensitive and curious baby elephant named Ruby, Ivan comes up with a plan to improve Ruby's life.

Neal is not a fan of books that feature animals. He made me stop reading Jungle Book because it regularly refers to the various jungle animals as "people". I told him to chill out. It's Kipling, after all. Neal informed me that he would listen to The One and Only Ivan until it called animals "people". He stayed to listen until page 233.

Thomas and I, however, enjoyed the entire book. Ivan is a likable and sympathetic character. It tugs at your heart-strings without making all humans the enemy. It is occasionally witty and clever and the writing style is very readable. In fact, I would heartily suggest reading this one aloud to younger elementary-aged children.

**I received a free copy of The One and Only Ivan in exchange for an honest review. No additional compensation was received.**

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