The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate – Somehow I missed reading this Newbery Award book. I have since noticed that several children’s authors have had characters in their books mentionThe One and Only Ivan as their favorite book. Quite a recommendation, so I dove in!
Ivan is a silver back gorilla who is a major draw in a shopping mall in Georgia. There are other animals in the mall’s habitat – an elephant and a mutt dog. The gorilla’s main attraction is that he can draw, and his human “owner” sells these illustrations. Ivan decides to make a big drawing, showing that he can communicate. Ivan’s illustration draws significant attention.
Beware of reading this book aloud with sensitive children, though. I don’t want to give away any plot developments but please know that there are a few examples of abusive language and the death of an animal character.
Also, The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate will be published in early May 2020.
The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman – For those of you who have read the trilogy His Dark Materials, you definitely want to add this book to your reading list. This trilogy starts with Lyra’s infant beginnings.
The title La Belle Sauvage refers to a boat owned by main character Malcolm. Malcolm becomes involved in safeguarding young Lyra, meeting along the way characters who were very well established in the trilogy.
Pullman has created a wonderful fantasy. Malcolm navigates through so many varied obstacles that by the end, you’re exhausted– for and with Malcolm.
We also own Book 2 in this new series, next on my reading list.
Max Einstein: the Genius Experiment by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein (Book 1 in a series of hybrid graphic novels) – Max starts out as a homeless kid in NYC who’s being watched because she’s a genius. She goes through a process of tests (which she hates taking) in order to be participate in a contest between genius kids from around the world. Eventually she is chosen as the top genius, but after the contest, she does this really cool thing of including all the other genius contestants. Then, as a team, the genius kids go to an African city to help fill a need for cheap electricity and to stop mines from employing children as miners.
Not my top choice of literature but it has merits for younger readers making the transition from early readers to series reading.
– Gary B.