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!