“Ivan, a gorilla, has spent most of his life with humans and the other animals at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. His memory of life before humans and cages is hazy, until a terrified young elephant joins him and he starts to remember the importance of family and belonging. A wonderful read, full of heart.”
— Lisa Fabiano, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA
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 hes seen and about his friends Stella, an 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 homeand his own artthrough new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and its up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.
Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivans unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.
A must have.
-School Library Journal (starred review)
-Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates.
-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Discover an animal hero that will take his place with other courageous and beloved animals such as Babe, Mrs. Frisby, Charlotte and Wilbur. Adults reading this aloud with children will find it just as rewarding.
-The Horn Book
A beautifully written, intelligent and brave book. You will never look at the relationship of humans and animals in the same way again. Quite simply, this story is life changing.
-Patricia MacLachlan, Newbery Medal-winning author of Sarah, Plain and Tall