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Meet Ivan. The One and Only Ivan. The Mighty Silverback of Exit 8. Whose tiny domain existed in a mall for 27 years.
His story is told in Katherine Applegate’s engaging book, “The One and Only Ivan.”
Of course, Ivan isn’t just a character in her book. He actually existed and lived in a small cage in a mall in Tacoma, Washington until he was taken to the Atlanta Zoo.
This book has captured our hearts. The day I began reading it to my 12, 9 and 7-year-old, my 12-year old immediately took it to her room so that she could finish reading it. And then she continued to listen the next few days as I read it out loud to her brothers.
Ivan. Lovable. Artistic. Thinking. Sharing. Ivan.
Katherine Applegate brings Ivan to life through her book which is told from his point of view.
The One and Only Ivan is our Arrow Book Club title for this month and it is the Brave Writer Arrow title for September 2016. (The guide for Ivan is not for sale individually yet. It will be in November.)
Our family has watched a few helpful videos and listened to an interview with the author to enhance our understanding of this book. I wanted to share a few of those with you today.
NPR’s Backseat Bookclub for Kids interviewed the author about this title in June of 2013. You can read parts of the interview and listen to the full interview on their site.
The Atlanta Zoo has a page with information about Ivan and a two-minute video with clips of Ivan.
This short documentary details the earlier parts of Ivan’s life. The owners of Ivan tell his story from the time he was a baby gorilla until he was put in the mall display:
This film, from 1992, reveals the dilemma facing the owners of Ivan while he was at the shopping mall. This one shows the sad reality of Ivan’s life, but yet it also shows Ivan being introduced to painting:
Ivan: The Remarkable Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by G. Brian Karas.
This picture book version of Ivan contains the true story of his journey from the Congo to America and from the mall to the zoo. Pictures of the real Ivan are included in the back!
Finally, my friend, Jessica, shared a fantastic idea on her facebook page and Instagram account. She had the perfect idea for a little “Ivan themed treat” to enjoy while you are reading the book or to use for a #partyschool Book Club or Ivan themed Teatime.
She purchased this cotton candy machine from amazon because Ivan refers to the “pink clouds that humans eat”. It has worked well and she assures me that it comes with enough sugar to last a lifetime! What a fun treat for under $30! It might be a great Christmas idea if you plan to read this book in 2017.
Have you read this book yet? What did your family think?
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