Ivan is a gorilla, a mighty silverback to be precise. However, confined to his mall domain without a gorilla troupe to lead, Ivan rarely thinks of his life in the jungle. He’d rather think about his friends Stella, the aging elephant in the domain next door, and Bob, a stray dog. Or, perhaps even the intricacies of the humans who come to gawk and stare.
Then, one day, the baby elephant Ruby joins the mall animals, and Ivan’s world begins to change. Ruby misses her elephant family and the life that was stolen from her. Her memories make Ivan begin to remember and to wonder if there isn’t some way to make things better.
With short chapters and subtle humor, Applegate draws readers into Ivan’s world, exposing the joys and sorrows of the animals at the Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. Ivan, his friends, and the humans who take care of them are portrayed with an intricacy that leaves even the worst human understandable. Readers will be engrossed by Ivan and his mysterious plan.
Reviewed by Melendra
Note: This book won the 2013 Newbery Medal. (Jan. 28, 2013)