June 6, 2014

The One and Only Ivan by Catherine Applegate

Ivan sits in his glassed cage at the Big Top Mall where most of the day he watches TV or creates works of art which customers can purchase in the mall store. A silver back gorilla who was ripped from his home in Africa with his twin sister by poachers, Ivan remembers little of his past. He is intrigued by a little girl, Julia, who draws and does homework while waiting for her custodian father at the mall. He is close to Stella, an old elephant, who after years of abuse, passes away.

A young gorilla, Ruby, is brought in to replace Stella. Ruby is unhappy, longing for the freedom of the wild. Ivan makes a promise to Ruby; to get her her freedom...

I need to be up front here. I don't like animal novels that are told from the POV of the animal. For me, it seems very contrived to hear the thoughts of an animal in the first person. I felt the same way with Michael Morpugo's War Horse. Not that they are both well written, well received books, they are just not my cup of tea. If you enjoy a warmly told tale with a lot of heart, then The One and Only Ivan is a read you might want to pick up. For me, classic stories about animals, such as Wilson's Where the Red Fern Grows, grab my heart and soul. I scored Ivan a bit higher because of my own personal bias.
Reed Reads Score: 3 

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