where all things literacy come full circle…

The One and Only Ivan

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot

I am Ivan. I am a gorilla.

It’s not as easy as it looks.

This is how the story opens of Ivan, a silverback gorilla. One page, two lines, 14 words, and an awesome illustration of…Ivan.

This is a (true) story of a captive gorilla who lives (in a cage for over 27 years) at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. Here we meet a wonderful cast of characters: Stella, an aging elephant with a cruel circus past; Bob, a mutt of a dog who sleeps on Ivan’s stomach; and little Ruby, a baby elephant who comes to live at the Mall. I fell in love with Ruby.
I don’t want to tell you much more because I want you to enjoy this book and fall in love with the characters as I did.

This book would be wonderful as a read a loud for grades 1 on up. When I taught first grade, I know my students would have loved this book. It’s also an excellent choice for reluctant readers and struggling readers. The spacing of words and sentences, varied sentence and chapter lengths, and wonderful word choice and voice makes this a great read for these students. Actually, all would benefit from knowing Ivan.

This book trailer is one of the best I have seen. The music, the images, the tone captivated my class. I used this trailer to book talk this book to my class. Children nowadays are so image driven that a good ol’ fashion book talk can suffice now and again, but when you have a trailer of this caliber, you had better use it.

My class of fifth graders were held captive once I hit play. After the trailer was over, I asked my class who would like to read this book? ALL hands shot up. I think I just sold this book to twenty-seven kids. 🙂


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