Ivan is a lowland gorilla. His habitat has glass walls on three sides and a mural of a “waterfall without water and flowers without scent and trees without roots” on the fourth wall. It is located in the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade on I95. His animal friends are are Stella, an elephant and Bob a dog who “belongs to no one”. Ivan, like Julia, the daughter of the mall caretaker, is an artist. He seldom thinks about his life before he came to the Exit 8 Mall until a new elephant named Ruby arrives.
The One and Only Ivan is written by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by Patricia Castelao. This book has 304 pages, but the chapter are 1-2 pages long, double-spaced and many have just a few words on the page. Ivan says “humans waste words”. The format of this book would make it a wonderful, ‘you read to me, I’ll read to you’ book.
I loved this book. Ivan, Stella, Ruby, Bob and Julia are compelling characters. You will have lots of conversation about their story. The Sonoma County Library has several copies of this book.