The One and Only Ivan was just the bittersweet book I needed when I was dealing with a stressful week. I read it in about one day because I could notThe One and Only Ivan was just the bittersweet book I needed when I was dealing with a stressful week. I read it in about one day because I could not put it down. The whole story felt like a work of art about a gorilla who makes art. The voice was such a cute, appealing, and engaging one. The format it's told in is kind of a journal that makes you see the world the way Ivan, the gorilla, does. You really get to know him and how sweet he is which makes it all the more tear jerking when you learn some of the horrible things that happened to him.
The One and Only Ivan is a book I could see kids liking. Ivan, the gorilla, loves to draw simple things and eat his crayons...and sometimes his art. But the writing was so poetic and beautiful I enjoyed it immensely as an adult.
"He goes back to work. His mop moves across the empty food court like a giant brush, painting a picture no one will ever see."
Katherine Applegate, The One and Only Ivan pg 233
It was the ultimate showing not telling and it sucked me right in. And the art inside was just as beautiful as the writing. It looked stunning even on my kindle and it looks even better in the print version.
The animal characters are all full of personality. I found each of them wonderful and very caring - even the sarcastic homeless dog. I really liked Stella, the elephant, and she had my favorite quote from the book:
"I always tell the truth," Stella replies. "Although I sometimes confuse the facts."
- Katherine Applegate, The One and Only Ivan pg 66
The impossible task that Ivan tries to achieve reminded me of Finding Nemo and how impossible it sounded for a fish to escape a fish tank and go back to the ocean. I was rooting for Ivan hard and hoping with everything I had that he would overcome.
Just when I was teary eyed enough, I read the Author's Note about how The One and Only Ivan was inspired by a true story. She embellished of course, but definitely not as much as you'd think. Very much of this story is similar to what happened to a real gorilla. Someone get me some tissues. Was I really having a stressful week? I've forgotten what it was.
Overall, this was a work of art about hope and the sad reality of animal cruelty that was brought up in a beautiful way that children could relate to and understand.
Frances Hodgson Burnett's way of writing, even in the author's note, has a whimsical, magicalThis book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
Frances Hodgson Burnett's way of writing, even in the author's note, has a whimsical, magical child-like tone to it that is very endearing. And like a child, the author can also be bluntly honest which made me laugh.
I loved reading about Sarah and the teacher that is jealous of her. In all honesty, the imaginative and optimistic Sarah was a much better teacher to the girls at the school. The teacher and other adults in the story seemed to delight in other's misfortunes while Sarah felt deep empathy towards them and tried her best to help them. I loved Sarah's imagination and her ability to use it to bring happiness to her and others around her no matter how bad things in their life were. Sarah had a beautiful ability to see things from someone else's view. She even befriends a rat. I couldn't help thinking that even though Sarah is just a child, I would like to be as kind, loving, and happy and she is.
When you will not fly into a passion people know you are stronger than they are, because you are strong enough to hold in your rage, and they are not, and they say stupid things they wish they hadn’t said afterward. There’s nothing so strong as rage, except what makes you hold it in— that’s stronger.
- Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Little Princess (p. 94).
A Little Princess was one of my favorite movies as a kid and although the movie was different than the book it was based on, it still had the great characters and imagination that I loved in the movie. The movie amped up the conflict and made it a little more sad than the book, but if you liked the movie you will definitely like the book.
Overall, it's a beautifully written classic about the power of imagination. ...more
I read some of these books as a kid but I never read the first one. I was kind of surprised to see that they found their grandpa. I seem to remember tI read some of these books as a kid but I never read the first one. I was kind of surprised to see that they found their grandpa. I seem to remember them being alone solving mysteries. I read the author had them largely unsupervised since that appeals to kids. She did a good job! I hardly remember adults in the series at all. The first book is an origin story and is different from the rest of the series. It was a survival story instead of a mystery. I enjoyed their simple life and how they found joy in doing small things to make their life better (like building a fireplace and finding dishes at the dump). They also found a lot of joy in the food they ate and spending time together. ...more