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08 March 2015

Book Review: The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only IvanThe One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My kid's 5th grade English teacher sent him home with this.  He read it in about 30 minutes.  It took me slightly longer. ;)

Somewhat in the vein of "Love That Dog" where fewer words manage to tell a powerful story (as Ivan, the silverback says, "Humans waste words. They toss them like banana peels and leave them to rot. Everyone knows banana peels are the best part" and "Humans speak too much. They chatter like chimps, crowding the world with their noise even when they have nothing to say.")

A heartbreaking story well-told with wonderful bite-sized nuggets of wise philosophy scattered throughout:

"I always tell the truth. Although I sometimes confuse the facts."

"When I'm drawing a picture, I feel...quiet inside."

And in the reproduction of the author's Newberry acceptance speech, this quote from Madeline L'Engle captures so beautifully why I often abandon books written for adults and return to young adult fiction;

"You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children."


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