cover image Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla

Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla

Katherine Applegate, illus. by G. Brian Karas. Clarion, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-544-25230-1

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.)