Do you ever get super excited when you finish reading a book, and it joins your “Favorite Books of All Time” list??? That is the feeling I had yesterday when I finished reading the Newbery Award winning book The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (yes, that name may sound familiar…she wrote the Animorphs series with her husband, Michael Grant). I read this book in about two days, as I sat at my daughter, Mari’s, state swim meet. Although the format of the book made me think the book would be a quicker read, I found myself frequently pausing to appreciate every part of the story, savoring each word. The fact that this story is based on the true story of a the Shopping Mall Gorilla named Ivan made me even more interested.
See this link for real images of Ivan.
This is a story about Ivan, an artistic silverback gorilla who lives in captivity in the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. He’s pretty happy with his life at the mall because he is surrounded by his friends Stella (an elephant), Bob (a dog), and Julia (a girl whose dad is the night custodian at the mall). When Ruby, a baby elephant, joins the animals at the mall, Ivan sees life through different eyes…and he begins to think that maybe a change is in order for everyone to find true happiness.
My Post-It notes sure got a workout on this read. I was continuously flagging words, sentences, and situations that grabbed and moved me. Mari’s Gramma Jan was at the swim meet with me, reading her own book (not Ivan, though), and noticed all the Post-It notes I was using. “Wow! That must be a pretty good book,” she said to me. It was more than pretty good, Gramma Jan. It was incredible and memorable! See more for yourself by visiting the official website at www.theoneandonlyivan.com .
This book appealed to me on so many levels. I marked many well-written sentences and paragraphs which I felt were great for writing models (look out incoming 5th graders! You’ll be seeing many of these in class this year.) Parts of the story that I thought needed reflection, discussion, and extra consideration were flagged. Anything that I thought was worth a prediction, a connection, an inference were also flagged. As the picture shows, this book is packed with many amazing points to ponder…a perfect book to read, to learn from, and to love.