The Missouri Reader Vol. 40, Issue 1 - Page 52

52

The One and Only Ivan

by Katherine Applegate

A book review by Audrey Brooks

I picked up The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate after my husband, a middle school teacher, brought it home from the school book fair. I had never seen an image of a gorilla that looked so sad. The gorilla sat next to a baby elephant on the cover. I instantly knew this was a book I had to read. Although Ivan is a real Gorilla, The One and Only

Ivan is a fictional story told from the perspective of Ivan. Ivan and his sister were captured as babies from Africa. His sister died on the journey, but Ivan went to live with humans. As Ivan grew bigger he was put in a small circus themed mall where he is in a glass cage and became a spectacle to visitors along with an elephant (Stella), a stray dog (Bob), and other animals. Ivan’s interest in drawing brings money to the mall as the keeper, Mack can sell them in the gift shop. Ivan most looks forward to when the janitor, George, and his daughter, Julia, come during the night. Life becomes mundane as visitors begin to lose interest. One day a new baby elephant, Ruby, joins Stella. As old injuries on Stella worsen and become infected Ivan starts to worry about Stella. Stella makes Ivan promise that he will take care of Ruby and not let her live her life the way Stella did. Author, Katherine Applegate tells this sweet story from the perspective of Ivan, showing the reader how human acts can seem so strange to others.

I would give this book an overall rating of five stars! This is a refreshing, heartwarming book with subtle humor. Reading from the perspective of a Gorilla raised by humans makes the reader chuckle as you reconsider some natural human behaviors. The author uses very short snippets for chapters that keep the reader’s interest and the pages turning. This a good read for animal-loving children. It shows the best and worst of human behavior towards animals. This book would be a great read-aloud in any third through sixth grade classroom and an independent readability of 3.7. There are a few simple pictures sprinkled throughout to add to the reader’s mental pictures. In 2013, the book was awarded the Newbery Medal. I suggest adding this book to your read aloud collection!

Audrey Brooks is a second grade teacher in Neosho, MO. She has taught and loved second grade for six years.

Dinosaur vs. Bedtime

by Bob Shea

A book review by Kasi Badell

Dinosaur vs. Bedtime is one of several stories in a series about a feisty, red dinosaur battling with everyday occurrences. This playful little guy thinks that nothing can stop him. Not blabbering adults, bowls of spaghetti, or even bath time. He roars and stomps repeatedly and comes out victorious. These mighty feats are nothing to the rambunctious, red dinosaur but what will he do when he meets his arch nemesis, bedtime? Will his roars be enough to keep from succumbing to bedtime? Will the daily battles catch up with him or will come out on top?

Young readers will be roaring and jumping up and down while waiting to hear what happens next!

The bold, black text jumps

outof the pages at the

readers. Coupled with the

intense but simple graphics

and illustrations the book is

an exciting adventure in

the daily life of the dinosaur.

It is a great read! Young

readers will definitely tire

themselves out reading or

listening to this one.

This book by Bob Shea is great for preschool or kindergarten level reading. I give this book a 5 star rating.

Kasi Bedell is currently in the Master’s program for Elementary Education at Missouri State University.

Dinosaur vs. Bedtime is one of several stories in a series about a feisty, red dinosaur battling with everyday occurrences. This playful little guy thinks that nothing can stop him. Not blabbering adults, bowls of spaghetti, or even bath time. He roars and stomps repeatedly and comes out victorious. These mighty feats are nothing to the rambunctious, red dinosaur but what will he do when he meets his arch nemesis, bedtime? Will his roars be enough to keep from succumbing to bedtime? Will the daily battles catch up with him or will come out on top?

Young readers will be roaring and jumping up and down while waiting to hear what happens next!

The bold, black text jumps out of the pages at the readers. Coupled with the intense but simple graphics and illustrations the book is an exciting adventure in the daily life of the dinosaur. It is a great read! Young readers will definitely tire themselves out reading or listening to this one.

This book by Bob Shea is great for preschool or kindergarten level reading. I give this book a 5 star rating.

Kasi Bedell is currently in the Master’s program for Elementary Education at Missouri State University.

Book Reviews