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Wow...what to say about Ivan. Ivan, Stella, Bob, and Ruby - what a cast of characters! I've had The One and Only Ivan on my TBR list since I started hearing about (that is to say a very long time). Finally, in November, my daughter and I chose it as our nightly read (she's 10 and in 5th grade). To say this is the absolute BEST book we've read together so far (we've been reading together since she was a baby) is an understatement!! We both adored the story and the characters. I enjoyed the themes as well. Of course, she didn't necessarily see them as themes, but she definitely got the information/knowledge, and she certainly felt the feelings and emotions that were contained within the Applegates writing.
Ivan, a silverback gorilla is an exhibit at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade and though the owner seems to care for his animals on some level, his love of business and money supersedes them all. Through Ivan's eyes readers get a glimpse at his life at the big top mall (and his life prior to it). Readers also get to know some of Ivan's closest friends and through their voices the author helps readers see, hear, and feel their experiences - this is a very fun, touching, and moving book!
A loyal custodian and his daughter really shine through this story as well - you won't look at animal art quite the same after reading this story. Really you're going to look at many things different after reading this story.
At times it is sad, others it is uplifting and even funny. Applegate took some very important and meaningful topics and made them interesting, easy, and quick to read. Kids will love the style - they'll love everything about this book.
If you haven't read this book, do so, and more importantly, start getting this book into the hands of every young reader you know!
*For added fun, go to: http://theoneandonlyivan.com/. This tale is based on a true story - a real Ivan. The author writes a little about him after the story, but this website also contains extra information for you and the young readers with whom you share this wonderful book!