Talk to me about books for 5 minutes and I’ll probably tell you about my love for audio books. Being a Mom and finding time to read as much as I want is a real challenge. Like seriously…then insert audio books into the picture. Long Commute + Audio Book = Happy Mama!
Now, I read all across the board. Juvenile to YA to Adult books. However, in the summer, I have a copilot with me. For this reason, book selections are taken from the juvenile section. Not a problem at all! This summer we’ve picked several great books and one of them was, The One And Only Ivan by: Katherine Applegate.
Told through his point of view, Ivan tells the story of his life from inside the Exit 8 Big Top Mall. Ivan has lived in the mall the majority of his life and his days are pretty much the same. He has made friends with Stella the elephant and Bob, a stray dog. Watching tv, talking to his friends and having people visit his cage is a normal daily routine, but then something magical happens. Ivan discovers his love for drawing and painting.
Ivan is an artist. He often wonders why people can’t figure out what he’s drawn. Honestly, I’m sure lots of artists feel the exact same way. When he isn’t drawing, he is talking to Stella. He worries about her because she isn’t well. They also can sense that something is about to change. Then, in pops Ruby, the baby elephant. I can just see her! She asks a billion questions a minute and is totally adorable and innocent.
Even with the story having funny parts and the animals being such characters, there’s still a lesson to be learned. Ivan is in an enclosure with no access to the outside world. He’s been living in basically a box for years. Stella is very sick and her owner seems not to care. Bob was a puppy that was dumped and ended up at the mall. It creates a ton of opportunity to talk to your child about proper animal care. Great, great story!
After reading the Author’s Note at the end, we found out that the book was loosely based on a true story. I then found the book, Ivan: The Remarkable True Story Of The Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate. It is a simple nonfiction book that tells Ivan’s story.
Pick them both up! You totally won’t regret it!
That Book Mama
P.S. You may want to grab a tissue, just in case:)