This week for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday we have a guest reviewer, Lucy, aged 8. Here’s what she had to say:

Last week I read THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN by Katherine Applegate. Mom had already read and she thought I would like it. So she bought a copy at ALA in June and got the author to sign it.

This is what Goodreads says about the book:

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, 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 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.

Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.

The One and Only IvanI like this book because, it is funny, sad and happy.

The characters are: Ivan a gorilla, Stella an elephant,  Bob  a stray dog. And…Ruby.  The humans are: Mack, George  and Julia. Ivan is my favorite because he makes the most of his life. Ivan says “I think I’ve always been an artist”. And I do too. I relate to Ivan, even though he’s a gorilla and I’m a human!

This would be a good book for families to read together. It is short, only 26,000 words and has a reading level of about grade 3-4.

Editors note: Lucy and I discussed this being a “verse novel” and she immediately said “I want to read other verse novels!”. In my opinion IVAN is a wonderful gateway into verse novels for middle grade readers because it is almost a hybrid between verse and very spare evocative prose.

Don’t forget to visit Shannon Messenger’s Blog  to find links to other Marvelous Middle grade Monday Bloggers.


3 thoughts on “MMGM – THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

  1. I adore this book! Hoping it wins an award in January. And oddly enough, I never thought of it as a verse novel while I was reading it. It just seemed like very spare and poetic prose. So I like how you describe it as a hybrid. Ivan’s my favorite too, Lucy.

  2. Pingback: Verse Novels and Emerging, Reluctant or Struggling Readers | For Those Who Know

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