For this week's Fiction Friday I chose The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.
Ivan is a silverback gorilla living in the Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. He doesn't mind the humans watching him through the glass windows of his domain. He spends his days watching TV, painting pictures, talking with his friends Bob, a stray dog, and Stella, an elephant, and eating. He doesn't think about the jungle or his family, so he doesn't miss them.
Ivan is content with his life until he meets Ruby, an orphaned baby elephant who has been brought to live at the mall. He finally remembers that one of the key roles a silverback has is to protect his family. Ivan must come up with a way to save Ruby from a dismal fate at the Big Top Mall and Arcade and get her to a real zoo where she will be with other elephants in a safe and well cared for environment.
I loved this story! It is told by Ivan as he lives out his days in his domain-he refuses to refer to it as a cage. Ruby's arrival at the mall caused Ivan to look at the mall, his art and his life in a new light. The characters are wonderful both the animal characters and the humans they interact with. It is a heart-warming story about friendship, family and the relationship between humans and animals.
"I like colorful tales, the ones with black beginnings and stormy middles and cloudless blue-sky endings. But any story will do."
This quote by Ivan sums up his story very well. The beginning isn't so black, but it definitely has a stormy middle and a cloudless blue-sky ending.
Reading Level: Grades 3-5
Until next time....