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Customer Review

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Think Ivan Would Approve ..., July 6, 2012
By 
This review is from: The One and Only Ivan (Hardcover)
As a mother who screens everything her 13-year-old daughter reads, other than the obvious, I try to steer clear of books about animals in captivity, or when animals die - because I'm a total sap. I read about these situations enough in the news as it is, and happy endings are usually hard to come by. "The One and Only Ivan" by Katherine Applegate showcases Ivan, a gorilla in captivity - and whose best friend dies!!! So, do I like the book? For myself, no, because I really don't like the subject matter, and I was not satisfied with the compromising ending - based on a true story or not. I also didn't feel comfortable with the simplistic writing that Applegate chose for Ivan's voice, although I understand why she chose to write him that way. However, I do believe it to be a seriously-needed book with social conscience, and, for that reason, I am glad to have read it. Happily, said daughter, being made of stronger stuff than myself (heh), loved the book. I have to agree with her four-star review (also submitted to our local library for their Summer Reading Program), which follows:

" 'The One and Only Ivan' by Katherine Applegate is a cute, heart-warming read.

"Ivan, a Silverback gorilla, sits in a cage in Big Top Mall.

"He's sat there for years, with his friends Stella, who's an elephant; and Bob, who's a dog. All in all, Ivan doesn't really remember much of the jungle, so he doesn't really mind much that he's spent years sitting in a cage, having people ogle at him, and then the people going away.

"Then, one day, a baby elephant called Ruby comes to the mall.

"Ruby is sweet and fun, and soon she and Stella become as close as mother and daughter.

"But then Stella dies, and before she dies, she makes Ivan promise to get Ruby out of the mall.

"It's hard work saving a friend from the same prison you're in.

"Especially when you are a gorilla.

"I thought that the book was really good. Ivan was so funny, and the ending was, while not a happily-ever-after kind of ending, still a pretty nice way to end the book. I also liked how the book is based on a true story. That was really nice.

"My favorite character was definitely Ivan, with Ruby being a close second. Ivan is really brave, and I *love* how he describes us humans! :-) I think Ruby might have been my favorite, except that she really wasn't in the book much. The book was mostly about Ivan trying to figure out how to get humans to get Ruby out of the mall.

"I would give the book four stars: two stars for the plot, and two stars for the characters. However, in the book, Ivan's family is killed, Ivan is captured, and then Ivan is fed soda and cotton candy, which even *I* know is unhealthy for gorillas! And seeing as how this story is based on a *true* story, I didn't like that at *all*. That's why I didn't give the book five stars."
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Review Details

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Reviewer

M. Lee
(REAL NAME)   

Location: Long Beach, CA USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 135,731