Tuesday, June 26, 2012

One and Only Ivan

Yesterday, we all went to the Brookfield Zoo.  It is one of two large zoos in the Chicago area.  While trekking through the crowds, we made our way to the final stop - Tropic World.  This is where they house monkeys, apes, mandrils, orangutans, and silverback gorillas.  It is broken up in to three separate buildings - South America, Asia, and Africa.  Normally, I find Tropic World a bit boring as it is long, crowded and humid, and the monkeys don't usually do much.  However, today I must have felt different.  When I reached Africa and saw the male silverback gorillas, the first thing that came to mind was Ivan - the male protagonist from the novel, The One and Only Ivan.

Ivan is a strong silverback stuck in a run-down small-town circus.  The other thing that really stands out for Ivan is that he loves to paint.  He paints everything he can.  But when a new baby elephant shows up, he wishes one thing - for all of them to be free from this horrible place. 

As I sat and stared at the silverback gorillas at the zoo, all I could think about was Ivan and the wish to be free.  The One and Only Ivan is written in a beautiful verse-like style.  It is a very fast read yet it really touches the heart.  I highly recommend it.

Check out the site here:  http://theoneandonlyivan.com/

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