The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate J Fiction
Harper 2012
Imagine living in a cage by yourself for more than thirty years. This was the fate of Ivan, a silver-back gorilla. His cage is in shopping mall where fewer and fewer people come to see him and the small number of other animals that also live in cages. Luckily, Ivan has time to talk to his neighbor, Stella, an old and wise elephant, and Bob, a stray dog that likes to sleep on Ivan’s chest. Ivan likes to draw and paint. He gets a steady supply of art materials from Julia, the young daughter of the handy man. One day, Ruby, a new baby elephant is brought to the mall. Stella takes Ruby under her wing, but Stella cannot stop the owner from making Ruby do odd tricks for the public. Stella gets Ivan to promise to save Ruby from this unnatural life. How can Ivan keep that promise? Applegate has written a tender story about animals we learn to care about. We see the world from behind the Plexiglas of Ivan’s cage and we worry about his future.
Reviewer: Lillian Hecker (PEL)

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