Top positive review
Ivan: The Picture Book!
Reviewed in the United States on October 9, 2014
My oldest daughter is 7.5, and she read the Ivan novel over the summer. She thoroughly enjoyed it, and so when I saw that an Ivan picture book would be coming out, I preordered it. I did not tell my daughter, so she was pleasantly surprised by the book's arrival a couple of days ago.
This picture book is not narrated by Ivan, which is a shame, because Ivan had such a unique voice and a wry sense of humor. Rather, this is a biography about Ivan the gorilla, from his infancy in Africa amongst the other gorillas, his capture by poachers and subsequent arrival in America, his childhood as a "human", his internment at the shopping mall, and finally, his new life at the zoo in Atlanta.
The prose is light and airy, but it also has emotional depth. It conveys information about Ivan's life in an engaging and evocative manner. One part that struck me was that Ivan had been "ordered and paid for, like a couple of pizzas, like a pair of shoes."
The illustrations by G. Brian Karas are phenomenal. I have enjoyed his work in other books, and I love the way he has brought Ivan's world to life.
My daughter had some objections to details in the picture book that differed from those found in the novel. I explained the concept of "artistic license" to her, and she seemed satisfied with that.
I think this picture book is a fine companion to the Ivan novel. It makes Ivan's story accessible to children on a lower reading level than the level of novel.
I would absolutely recommend this book to others.