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/