Thursday, April 19, 2012

Book Review: The One and Only Ivan

From my Goodreads book review of The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate:
What a sweet little book! I kept noticing this at the library, as it's still a new(er) release, so the cover is still shiny and clean. I was half sold by the adorable elephant and gorilla picture on the cover, but I wasn't in the mood for a circus-animal-rights book. I am actually somewhat ambivalent on the whole zoo-circus thing, but completely against cruelty to animals. I don't like certain things about zoos and especially about circuses, but I still didn't want to be preached at in book form. I don't like politically charged stories-- just good stories. 

Then I opened the book and read the first page and I was hooked. I didn't realize the story is told from the point of view of Ivan, the gorilla! And told in such a believable, honest voice. Simple, authentic and very sweet. 

Ivan lives in a "domain" at the "Big Top Mall", where he was once the star attraction. His fellow show animals are his friends, as well as the daughter of the cleaning man, who gives him supplies to draw with. He loves painting and creating. I don't want to tell too much of what happens, because I know often a story description will actually turn people off to a story because it simplifies it too much. 

This is a nice little book, an easy read and a very sweet story. It is somewhat predictable, but still has surprises, and the end left me feeling gratified. It's written for young people, found in the Junior Fiction section at our library, but still very enjoyable for us adults.

Judging a book by its cover sometimes pays off! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I could nitpick and criticize, but I won't. I enjoyed the story, read it in about a day, and though I won't be buying a copy for my collection, I would recommend reading it. It might even be a good read-aloud, though some of the subject matter might be a tad too heavy for very young children.

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