Monday, September 24, 2012
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate tells the story of Ivan, a silverback gorilla who has lived 27 years in the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. Ivan does not think of the jungle home he left as a baby gorilla. He does think of art and how he could capture the way a banana looks. His friend, Julia, the janitor's daughter brings Ivan paper and crayons. Ivan's pictures are so good that Mack, the owner of the Big Top Mall, frames them and sells them in the gift shop for $25.00.
Ivan's world consists of his cell with its thick glass walls; his friends the elderly elephant, Stella, and the stray dog, Bob. One day their world changes drastically when a new baby elephant is brought to live at the Big Top Mall. Ruby is small and afraid. Stella protects her and comforts her but realizes that Ruby should be living in a real zoo with other elephants and trees and grassy open spaces. Stella makes Ivan promise to help Ruby get to a real zoo, someday. It is the last thing that Stella asks of Ivan before she dies. Ivan does not know how he will ever keep his promise.
One day, after thinking about this problem for a very long time, Ivan looks out his window at the billboard outside the mall. He is inspired to create a message in art that will lead, not only to Ruby's freedom but his own as well.
Katherine Applegate was inspired to write this touching story when she read a true story about a captive gorilla known as Ivan, the Shopping Mall Gorilla. The real Ivan lived alone in a tiny cage at a shopping mall before being moved to the Zoo Atlanta after a public outcry. He became a celebrity at the zoo which houses the largest collection of western lowland gorillas in the United States. Ivan was well known for his paintings which he signed with his "thumbprint" signature. The real Ivan lived to be 50 years old and just recently died peacefully in the Zoo Atlanta.
The One and Only Ivan is a wonderful story that has Ivan save Ruby with his art and is saved himself by the brave efforts of Julia to put his art up where the world would see it and respond. This is a warm, wonderful story that young and old will want to read again and again.