Monday, June 3, 2013

2013 Newberry Award Winner "The One and Only Ivan"

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate received the Newberry Award for children's literature. This tale of a gorilla raised by humans and living alone for twenty-seven years becomes a tale of rescue when Ruby, a baby elephant is introduced to her "domain" (a cage).  Ruby becomes the impetus for a pledge that Ivan made to Stella, his friend and neighbor at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. When Stella dies from neglect, Ivan realizes that Ruby's fate will be similar and decides to come up with a plan to get Ruby moved to a zoo.  His plan involves the janitor's daughter, Julia, who must put together the pieces of Ivan's puzzle to decipher his intention. 

Observations of humans from inside his cage and interactions with the other animals are humorous, and the support that the animals show for each other is inspiring. We humans could learn a thing or two from our ape ancestors. Recommended for 3rd - 5th grade readers, with a Lexile rating of 570.