Title: One and Only Ivan
Genre: Fiction, Animals, Friendship
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Having spent the majority of my life in the Northwest, the story of Ivan the Gorilla is not a new one to me. Ivan lived in the B & I, a store in Tacoma, Washington for decades before finally moving to Zoo Atlanta (where he passed away this summer).
In this book, the author writes Ivan's story from the gorilla's perspective. When Ivan, who has lived for years in a down-and-out circus-themed mall, meets Ruby, a baby elephant that has been added to the mall, he decides that he must find her a better life.
Having Ivan narrate this story is an unusual construct that completely works. It adds immediacy to this story of friendship that will resonate with tween (and teen) animal lovers. This book will capture the hearts of readers for quite some time. (And don't let the page count deter younger readers...there's lots of white space and perfect illustrations scattered throughout). I have recommended this one to several of my friends for their own children this holiday season, as well as touting it at school, where it has garnered a hold list.