Monday, September 24, 2012

Review: The One and Only Ivan - Katherine Applegate

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Genre: Middle Grade, animal fiction
Published on January 17, 2012
Published by HarperCollins
Pages: 307
Read From: 9.7.12 - 9.8.12

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all. 
Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he's seen and about his friends Stella, and elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line. 
Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home - and his own art - through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it's up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.


Cover Blurb: The elephant, Ruby, is so cute! I love how the illustrator did her, and to be honest, it was Ruby that made me pick the book up in the first place. It was just too adorable of an elephant; I had to see what the book was about.

What I Liked: Ruby was absolutely adorable. I don’t know how a Reader couldn’t fall in love with her. Ivan was a surprisingly good narrator, and I got pretty attached to him as well. But Ruby was definitely the star of the book.

What I Disliked: Nothing in particular.

Believability: I didn’t feel that the Author exaggerated conditions in the mall - places like that, I’m sure, are not well kept.

Writing Style: I actually liked the layout the Author used, telling the story in short little sections with a heading - almost like a chapter title - that indicated what was going to be discussed. The present-tense didn’t bother me, either, because it was written almost like Ivan was thinking right then and there. He wasn’t sitting down at a later point in the time, writing out of his story; it was happening right now, and for this story it worked. I also thought that given the story’s topic, the Author didn’t get preachy at any point.

Content: None.

Conclusion: I don’t normally go for these kinds of stories, and though Ruby was adorable, my reaction is still, Well, that was pleasant enough, I suppose. It was a nice short read; a good one to pick up if you don’t want an involved story. Nothing truly the phenomenal stands out about it, nor does anything just plain horrible. There are definitely far worse books to spend some time with, and Ruby really does make it worth reading.

Recommended Audience: This is one of those kids’ books that adults would probably appreciate more, though it certainly has plenty of kid-appeal (what kid isn’t going to love a baby elephant?). I would tag this one for inspirational-story fans, both guy and girl.

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