Friday, August 5, 2016
The one and only Ivan is a story of struggle, hope, and triumph. It spans the behavior of humans at their best, and at their worst. What emerges is a tale that reveals the power of taking action to effect positive change for yourself and others. I love how the story is told from the perspective of a gorilla. It allows readers to empathize with his life conditions as a circus animal. We see Ivan reach out to a baby elephant who is motherless and alone as she learns to trust him and later the humans who rescue them from a cruel and lonely circus life. There is love, compassion, joy, freedom, friendship, empathy, strength, kindness, and trust throughout this thoroughly entertaining children's novel. I especially like how it takes a sometimes painful topic for kids and treats it with such gentle and loving emotions and vocabulary that they do not have to ever feel too sad. At the same time it is brutally honest that sometimes people are mean, but other people can combat that by becoming allies to those less fortunate and standing up to those who cause harm to others. I loved it! This book is one where readers can read to learn and build on their love of reading. Third graders can probably read this themselves, but honestly I think as a read aloud not only will the kids benefit, but also any adult that picks up this tender story.