Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla

Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla

by Katherine Applegate, G. Brian Karas
     
 

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In a spare, powerful text and evocative illustrations, the Newbery medalist Katherine Applegate and the artist G. Brian Karas present the extraordinary real story of a special gorilla.
     Captured as a baby, Ivan was brought to a Tacoma, Washington, mall to attract shoppers. Gradually, public pressure built until a better way of life for

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Overview

In a spare, powerful text and evocative illustrations, the Newbery medalist Katherine Applegate and the artist G. Brian Karas present the extraordinary real story of a special gorilla.
     Captured as a baby, Ivan was brought to a Tacoma, Washington, mall to attract shoppers. Gradually, public pressure built until a better way of life for Ivan was found at Zoo Atlanta. From the Congo to America, and from a local business attraction to a national symbol of animal welfare, Ivan the Shopping Mall Gorilla traveled an astonishing distance in miles and in impact.
     This is his true story and includes photographs of Ivan in the back matter.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
08/18/2014
In this poignant picture book, Applegate streamlines the story told in her Newbery-winning novel, The One and Only Ivan, about an African gorilla captured by poachers and caged in a Washington State mall for 27 years as a tourist attraction. The third-person narrative diminishes the immediacy of the story somewhat, but supports the nonfictional bent of this account. While Applegate omits some of the novel’s darker bits, as when Ivan’s elephant friend at the mall dies of neglect, many grim moments remain, and she is clear about the injustice of the gorillas’ situation (“Poachers with loud guns and cruel hands stole the little gorilla and another baby”). Karas’s (Tap Tap Boom Boom) muted illustrations capably reflect the contrasts between Ivan’s happy early life in Africa, his gloomy years in captivity, and his eventual transfer to a new home, with grass and other gorillas, at Zoo Atlanta. A detailed afterword fills out Ivan’s story and imparts the sad news of his death in 2012. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Elena Giovinazzo, Pippin Properties. Illustrator’s agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"Gently paced, with moving but reassuring images, this is an age-appropriate introduction to the issues of captivity and animal welfare."
—Kirkus

"Using pencilline drawing and washes of pastel, Karas feelingly depicts Ivan’s gentle and loving personality conveying how this gentle gorilla won the hearts of thousands of people—and readers."
—Booklist

"Karas's darkly hued, smudgy illustrations complement the tone of the narrative and convey the sense of loneliness and isolation that marked the gorilla's existence."
—School Library Journal

"The spareness of both text and pictures invites readers to find their own meaning in the moving story."
—Horn Book Magazine

"Karas's muted illustrations capably reflect the contrasts between Ivan's happy early life in Africa, his gloomy years in captivity, and his eventual transfer to a new home."
—Publishers Weekly

“Applegate's spare text gives readers just enough grounding to follow Ivan's journey, while Karas's artwork fills in Ivan's emotional life through the gorilla's engaged expressions and body language—no image more triumphant than Ivan's release into Zoo Atlanta. A heartfelt tribute to a magnificent animal.”
—Shelf Awareness, starred review

"The text is streamlined but powerful, and younger kids who aren’t up for the linguistic and emotional challenges of Applegate’s fictional account of Ivan will find this a thoughtful and intriguing introduction; older readers who have read The One and Only Ivan may enjoy it as well."
—Bulletin
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
After winning the Newbery Medal for her fiction novel, The One and Only Ivan, Applegate has decided to tell Ivan’s true story for younger readers. Using terse, poetic prose, she begins with his birth in a family of gorillas in a central African tropical forest. While still growing, Ivan and another young gorilla are stolen by poachers and shipped to a shopping mall in Tacoma, Washington, where a big fuss is made over them. But then the other gorilla dies, and Ivan is left alone. After three years with a family, he is moved to a cage in the mall. Year after lonely year passes. Finally a movement arises to send him where there are other gorillas in the Atlanta Zoo. There he can finally begin a good life with trees, grass, and company. The naturalistic illustrations seem to have been partially sketched in charcoal. Backgrounds are simplified; attention is focused on Ivan, with whom we feel immediately sympathetic. There is additional information on Ivan plus comments from his main keeper. Photos bring us even closer to the real Ivan. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz; Ages 4 to 8.
School Library Journal
07/01/2014
K-Gr 2—In this gorgeous picture book, Applegate details the real-life inspiration for her Newbery Award-winning novel, The One and Only Ivan (HarperCollins, 2012). This title describes the harsh life of Ivan the gorilla, who was captured as a baby by poachers and brought to the B&I Circus Store in Tacoma, a mall that featured other wild animals. Though he initially lived in a house with the store's owner, when he got too big and unwieldy to handle, he was caged and put on display, staying there for more than 27 years. When the public became aware of his plight, Ivan attracted media attention and eventually was brought to a more humane environment at Zoo Atlanta. Though Applegate touches on some dark times in the life of this gorilla—he was captured with a young female gorilla who died shortly after—she does so with sensitivity. "Without her, Ivan was all alone, with too much left to learn." While her more detailed note on Ivan states that he died in 2012, the book ends on a positive moment, with Ivan finding peace in his new home. Karas's darkly hued, smudgy illustrations complement the tone of the narrative and convey the sense of loneliness and isolation that marked the gorilla's existence. A remembrance from Ivan's main zookeeper rounds out this moving work.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
2014-08-01
Applegate reinterprets her Newbery-winning story about Ivan the shopping-mall gorilla for a younger audience of up-and-coming animal activists. Ivan's idyllic early years in the jungle are described in the first few spreads in brief, simple, poetic lines. These are paired with warm, earth-toned watercolors. All comes to a halt on a page featuring one ominous line of text: "He did not learn about humans / until it was too late." Ivan and another baby are captured by poachers. A stark, dark spread depicts their imprisonment and journey in a crate from central Africa to Tacoma, Wash., to a man who "had ordered and paid for them, / like a couple of pizzas, / like a pair of shoes." Youngsters will initially be lulled by how cute and satisfied the two appear upon arriving in their human home. However, the deficits of Ivan's (in)human(e) environment soon become clear, starting with the death of his companion. Although years pass in just a few page turns, Applegate's measured tone allows children to slowly digest Ivan's situation and the change in attitude that eventually prompted his removal from the mall to a better setting, Zoo Atlanta. There, the story comes full circle, and Ivan is at last reunited with others of his kind. A note "About Ivan" provides further details. Gently paced, with moving but reassuring images, this is an age-appropriate introduction to the issues of captivity and animal welfare. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780544252301
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
10/07/2014
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
57,640
Product dimensions:
8.90(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
AD680L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Katherine Applegate’s many children's books include the Newbery Award-winning novel The One and Only Ivan, the picture book The Buffalo Storm, and the bestselling Animorphs series. She lives in California. www.katherineapplegate.com.

G. Brian Karas is the award-winning author and illustrator of many acclaimed picture books. He lives in New York. www.gbriankaras.com

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