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Monday, March 5, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The One and Only Ivan (Plus Giveaway!!)

But first--the winner of Caroline Rose's marvelous May B. is



An e-mail is winging its way to you, Reading Mind, to inform you it's your lucky day.
(NEWSFLASH: It turns out that Reading Mind is ITALIAN!!!, so May B. will be living in Italy. Don Vito is dancing the tarantella in his office!)


And now for MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY, I'm featuring a title I will be trumpeting about for a long time to come. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me think. It is



The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (Harper, January 2012)

Opening Lines: "I am Ivan. I am a gorilla. It's not as easy as it looks."

The Story:  Based on a true story, this short and powerful novel tells the story of Ivan, a gorilla, who has been in a cage in a mall near Tacoma for nearly thirty years. He has a cohort of animal friends: Stella, the elephant, and Bob the stray mutt, in particular. When Baby Ruby--another elephant--joins the troupe, Ivan makes Stella a promise that he will set Ruby free. He uses his artistic abilities to make a sign that is deciphered by Julia, the mall janitor's young daughter, who is also an artist. The upshot is that Ivan and Ruby are relocated to a zoo, and the company of their own species.

Why I liked it: I cannot say enough good things about this novel. I guffawed, I boo-hooed, and I pondered the relationship between human and beast. It was both humorous--the wisecracking mutt Bob, is hysterical--as well as heartstring-tugging. (I have to warn you, there are a couple of scenes that will cause tender-hearted animal lovers some grief.) Author Katherine Applegate makes the characters come alive in a way that is reminiscent of one of my all-time favorites, Charlotte's Web. I can see The One and Only Ivan becoming a classic as well.


About the Author: Katherine Applegate is the author of many books for children and young adults, including the very popular Animorphs series. More information can be found about her and Ivan at the website The One and Only Ivan

The Yippee: I have a SIGNED ARC of The One And Only Ivan to give away. Just leave a comment, or tweet about it, and you'll be entered to win.

HAVE A MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY AND WEEK!





26 comments:

  1. This sounds like a heartfelt story, and I love stories about animals. I hadn't heard of this one. Thank you for sharing.

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  2. I LOVE this book! I highly recommend it. It's a joy to read, and, yes, totally full of heart. You don't need to enter me into the drawing, BTW.

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  3. Sounds like an awesome story. I don't always love stories that have animals as main characters but this sounds good. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  4. I've heard a lot about this one lately and it looks awesome! But, oh man... I have a feeling I will be needing a box of Kleenex for reading this one... ;) Thanks for the giveaway!

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  5. This one's already tugging at the heartstrings. Ditto on Charlotte's Web.

    My MMGM pick went back thirty-some years to Bunnicula.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Michelle. I'll be heading your way later to read about Bunnicula.

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  6. This sounds incredible. Thanks for the giveaway, Mike!

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  7. I recently bought this book but haven't had a chance to read it, now I really can't wait.

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  8. I'm going to have to pull this out of my stack and read it, like now. Thanks for the giveaway.

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    1. It's a great read! You're welcome about the giveaway, Heidi--and thanks for stopping by MGM.

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  9. This is the third book featuring animals today. Mmm...
    What I'm intrigued most about is the relationship between Ivan and the janitor's young daughter. Thanks for this great giveaway. Here is to hoping I win :D

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  10. I just finished this over the weekend! It truly is a book to love. Like you, I laughed, cried, and thought while reading it and continue to contemplate its story after finishing. Likely, I will feature it in the coming weeks.

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  11. How have I not heard about this one? Thanks for sharing!

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  12. Read this on my kindle and LOVED it! Can't wait to share it with students.

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    1. I think your students will ove it too, Dana. Thanks for stopping by!

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  13. SMS Guys Read is currently preparing our Books and Basketball Tournament. One and Only Ivan is currently an 8 seed, none of us have read the book, after reading your review I might need to seed it a bit higher. We would love to read a signed copy. Here is a link to our 2011 tournament post...http://smsguysread.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/2011-books-and-basketball-championship/

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    1. Mr. H., What a great idea! I love your blog and will be following the tournament. Good luck in the giveaway.

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  14. Love the cover and the description! Thanks!

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  15. Wow, this sounds really terrific! I'm in. =)

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  16. the opening line is great! I already like it! Wow, this MMGM meme is so full of good titles and I just wish to find as many in my country. I think I'm adding at least 4/5 titles to my wishlist each week. Thanks for sharing!

    Oh, and love from Italy!

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  17. I bet my daughter would love this book. She has a weakness for books dealing with animals.

    Love the cover!

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  18. Ooh! I love winning books! Count me in! This looks like a great read. I'll have time to read it, now that I've finished reading my Cookiepedia book. Oh, I wasn't supposed to read it cover to cover? NOW you're telling me!

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  19. I soooooooo want this book! I love the sounds of it, and the book trailer is amazing! Thanks for the chance at it.

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  20. This is one I am looking forward to reading. And to have a chance at a signed arc? All I can say is thanks to Don Vito. Youse is awesome for doing this.

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  21. Ah! This is so awesome! I read a line in Betsy Bird's review that led me to believe this one was written in verse - but I haven't seen anything alluding to that in any other review. Does Ivan speak in verse sometimes?!
    Thank you so much for the chance to win!

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Youse got something to say? Well, say it then. (The Don and I will shoot you... a personal reply, that is. But if we can't find your e-mail, we'll just reply in the comment box.)