Monday, December 10, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The One and Only Ivan

The winner of Madison Morgan: When Dogs Blog is . . .
Rose Munevar! 
Hooray! Email your mailing address to barbarawatson94(at)gmail(dot)com.

Today's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, my last of 2012, is a book I couldn't leave the year without featuring even though I read it quite awhile ago -- The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. It's also a book that, along with Wonder by R.J. Palacio and Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage, I hope makes the Newbery list. Don't consider that any kind of prediction, it's just my own personal hope list.

The premise: Ivan, a gorilla, lives in a mall, inside a walled, glass enclosure. The only remnants of his jungle home are the paintings on his walls. His friends -- Stella, an old elephant and Bob, a stray dog -- keep Ivan's thoughts in the here and now. Not what his life used to be or what it could have been. But then a baby elephant named Ruby arrives and changes . . . everything.

What keeps readers reading: The developing and beautiful friendship between Ivan and Ruby. Because Ivan tells this story, readers are right inside his head. We know what hurts Ivan, what's too painful to think about, and just how much he'll sacrifice for his new friend Ruby. And all the while, Ivan valiantly tries to get a girl to understand what he desperately needs her to know.

What I loved: The emotions this story evokes. It's funny; it's sad. I laughed; I cried. But most importantly, my heart engaged, as well as my head, because not only does this story make readers feel, it really, really makes readers think. Together, those two things add up to one pretty perfect story.

For more middle grade links, click over to
Happy middle grade reading! 
 

27 comments:

  1. I was surprised at how much I liked this one!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've seen this around. Thanks for sharing bout it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sounds like a very interesting plot. I've been thinking lately about writing books from the point of view of animals, about keeping their voice and not humanizing them too much but still making it accessible to readers. I'll have to check this out and see how this author did it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I read about this book on another blog last week. It really sounds unique, I think I'll see if our library has it. Thanks for the review.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I keep hearing about this...I'm definitely going to have to check it out!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've heard a lot of great things about this book. I read another post about it on a different blog this weekend. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've heard a lot about this book. It sounds wonderful! Thanks for highlighting it for us.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yes yes yes! I loved this book and raved about it on my own blog. If it doesn't win something, I will be most upset.

    The poetic prose is so simple and yet so powerful. Some reviewers describe this as a novel in verse, but I didn't think of it that way.

    ReplyDelete
  9. There is a lot of buzz about this book. I hope I can get to it soon.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Another wonderful MG to add to my library! Thanks, Barbara.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I won! How exciting :) I love the looks of this new book too. I have a special place in my heart for animals, and my kids do too. I'm sure we'll love this one.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Just bought it on Amazon! Desperately seeking Hanukkah gifts :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I just read this one with my son. He loved it; I didn't so much. It's cute, but a little too sentimental for my tastes.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Reading a book that engages you like that is so wonderful. Thanks for the recommendation!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I read this to my kids over the summer... well, my son went ahead and finished it on his own (as he often does) when we couldn't keep reading ALL day! We enjoyed it, but my daughter was a little sad when she found out the "real Ivan" had just passed away. Still packs a lot of punch for the minimal amount of words.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I bought this one several months ago, but my library due dates have kept me reading other things. I'll make a point to get to it before the end of the year as I've heard such good things.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I've heard lots of great stuff about this book, will have to check it out!

    ReplyDelete
  18. now that's an enthusiastic thumbs up. sounds superb :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Such a great book. It was one of my favourites this year.

    ReplyDelete
  20. This is the first time I'm hearing about this book. It sounds so sweet!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Yay for Ivan! I LOVE that book. I hope it makes the Newbery list too, Barbara. :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. I heard a lot of great things about this book ALL YEAR. I'm sad I wasn't able to read it this year but maybe next year I will.
    I can't wait for your MMGM to resume next year. :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. I've heard of this one before. I love the cover - even the cover pulls at my heartstrings a bit. A great book to end on!

    ReplyDelete
  24. This is such a great book. I really loved seeing the world through Ivan's eyes.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I've had this on my to-read list for a while. With your post, I'm going to have to move it up in the list!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I've never heard of this one but it sounds wonderful - with a touch of sadness and hope. I haven't read an animal story in a while, and I think my girls would like this one too!

    ReplyDelete

Comments. Yay! They're almost as good as chocolate. Almost.