The One and Only Ivan

the one and only ivanTitle: The One and Only Ivan
Author: Katherine Applegate
Pages: 307
Genre:
 Children, Animals
Published: 2012 by Harper Collins.
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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.

“Humans waste words. They toss them like banana peels and leave them to rot.”

This book ruined me just a little bit.

The great thing about children’s books is that the authors focus on the characters and story more than trying to write beautifully and complexly, and as a result the simple reading level doesn’t even matter. In this case, the story was told from the point of view of a gorilla named Ivan, so the easy language is actually beautiful. Adults and 12-year-olds could relate to him to the same degree because he isn’t human, but sometimes reminds you of one.

Ivan is based off of a real gorilla who was captured as a baby and who lived in a circus for 27 years away from other gorillas before (view spoiler). The innocence of animal voices in any books from their perspective makes me sad. Reading something from the point of view of a gorilla who doesn’t mind captivity so much but still has a sense of something greater out there just makes me cry.

If you ever feel like taking a break from epic fantasy or contemporary romance, or whatever genre you’re ploughing through, try this. This got me out of a reading rut.

5 Star5 Ships- Loved it

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