Thursday, February 4, 2021

The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate is one of our FAVORITE read-alouds ever. It is just such a beautiful book! Based on a real-life gorilla that lived out his final days at Zoo Atlanta (I visited him many times growing up), Ivan is a "shopping mall gorilla," that is on display in a glass enclosure in Tacoma, Washington. A very fictionalized version of his real-life story, we meet Ivan and some of the animals he is friends with in his lonely existence. 

After reading our book, we invited a friend over for our first-ever Boys' Book Club experience. It was SO FUN. We had book-themed snacks...

(Chocolate donut holes are "Me Balls." Me Balls are Ivan's name for poop. As gross as that is, the boys thought it was HYSTERICAL.)

(Grapes and Trail Mix, which consisted of popcorn, Froot Loops, Circus Peanuts, and Animal Crackers.)

Will dressed for the occasion!

(One activity was to design Ivan's domain. There was a LOT of description of Ivan's shopping mall home and I asked the boys to draw what they thought it looked like. You can find this worksheet HERE. Will's TOTALLY impressed me. When we did this, he was only 6 years old. He is NOT my academic child, but he is super creative. I wish I'd labeled everything he added to the domain below, but you can see that he is on a tire swing, he has bars, there are banana peels, I think there's a red blanket, etc. I was SO PROUD and impressed! The big boys added one or two things and then moved on. LOL!)

We also did Ivan handprints. These turned out so cute! I love a cute piece of handprint art!

Finally, we showed the boys some documentaries I found on YouTube of the REAL Ivan. Similar stories HERE and HERE. This was before the movie was made, but you can also find Disney's version of this on their streaming service. Katherine Applegate has also written a sequel to the story called The One and Only Bob about Ivan's canine friend who lived with him in his domain.

If you haven't read this, it's an EXCELLENT one to add to your library and share with your children. It DOES have some sad moments, so be aware, but the story is just so beautiful.

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