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Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla Hardcover – October 7, 2014
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From School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Ivan was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1962. When he was about six months old, he and another baby gorilla were kidnapped by poachers. They were sold to a mall in Tacoma, WA, that also had other animals. The other baby gorilla, however, died shortly after they arrived in the United States. This is the story of how Ivan went from a lonely existence in a shopping mall to living with other gorillas once more. Narrator Xe Sands complements Applegate's masterfully crafted picture book. Although her narration is a little slow, younger readers will appreciate the extra time to fully take in the captivating, colorful illustrations. The chimes for page turning are timed correctly and do not distract listeners. VERDICT Young children who are interested in gorillas or enjoy the read-along experience will love this. ["Convey[s] the sense of loneliness and isolation that marked the gorilla's existence": SLJ 7/14 review of the Clarion book.]—Kira Moody, Whitmore Public Library, Salt Lake City
For those who loved the Newbery Award–winning The One and Only Ivan (2012), Applegate has created a picture-book adaptation of the true story. A baby gorilla from central Africa is captured and taken to Tacoma, Washington. At first he lives with a human family, and children will see themselves in the happy gorilla that sleeps in a bed, goes to baseball games, and licks ice-cream cones. But when Ivan grows too big, he is sold, and for 27 years, the adult silverback lives in a cage at a shopping mall. After protesting citizens write petitions, Ivan goes to a better environment at Zoo Atlanta. Back matter has more facts and photos of Ivan and websites for further information, as well as one of Ivan’s finger paintings signed with his thumbprint. Using pencil-line drawing and washes of pastel, Karas feelingly depicts Ivan’s gentle and loving personality conveying how this gentle gorilla won the hearts of thousands of people—and readers. Preschool-Grade 3. --Lolly Gepson
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Top customer reviews
This picture book is not narrated by Ivan, which is a shame, because Ivan had such a unique voice and a wry sense of humor. Rather, this is a biography about Ivan the gorilla, from his infancy in Africa amongst the other gorillas, his capture by poachers and subsequent arrival in America, his childhood as a "human", his internment at the shopping mall, and finally, his new life at the zoo in Atlanta.
The prose is light and airy, but it also has emotional depth. It conveys information about Ivan's life in an engaging and evocative manner. One part that struck me was that Ivan had been "ordered and paid for, like a couple of pizzas, like a pair of shoes."
The illustrations by G. Brian Karas are phenomenal. I have enjoyed his work in other books, and I love the way he has brought Ivan's world to life.
My daughter had some objections to details in the picture book that differed from those found in the novel. I explained the concept of "artistic license" to her, and she seemed satisfied with that.
I think this picture book is a fine companion to the Ivan novel. It makes Ivan's story accessible to children on a lower reading level than the level of novel.
I would absolutely recommend this book to others.