Jaxter was born to steal. Seriously. His family is good at it and he’s learned from the best. The Grimjinx family knows how to swindle, forge, heist, pickpocket and burgle. It’s their way.
But just because you are BORN to steal, just because you have been taught HOW, doesn’t mean you are GOOD at it. Jaxter has butterfingers. He’s clumsy. Frankly, he’s not that interested. What he DOES know though, is plants. Yes, plants, but not just ANY plants, magic-resistant plants. In the world he lives in, knowing how to resist bad magic is an important skill. When the fate of his family, even his whole town, rests on his shoulders, Jaxter uses his head and relies on his friends to think his way out of a prophecy that seems destined to predict their demise.
A laugh outloud, unpredictable journey across a magical land full of memorable characters and original magical creatures, powers and rules. Author: Brian Farrey
The Newbery Medal book for this year, announced in January, was The One and Only Ivan…a story based on a real gorilla who used to live at Zoo Atlanta. Today at 3:30pm zookeepers at Zoo Atlanta will be presenting a webcast to remember Ivan, who died August 20, 2012. Ivan was a beloved zoo resident missed by many.
From Zoo Atlanta : “We’ll discuss the real Ivan, who called Zoo Atlanta home for 18 years. From the jungles of Africa to the shores of the Pacific Northwest to The Ford African Rain Forest at Zoo Atlanta, his life has become a symbol of the way animals shape our lives — and the power we have to shape theirs. We’ll be joined by our educator instructor Carvel Bennett and primate keeper Jodi Carrigan, who was Ivan’s close friend for 10 years.”
Ivan the gorilla lives at the Exit 8 Bigtop Mall and Video Arcade. Ivan lives in a small glass domain with nothing but a food bowl, a stuffed toy and a television…and the humans that come and press their faces to the glass and point and stare. The zoo owner sometimes gives Ivan a crayon or paint. Ivan likes to draw pictures.
Hello. I am Ivan. I am a gorilla. It’s not as easy as it looks. People call me the Freeway Gorilla. The Ape at Exit 8. The One and Only Ivan. Mighty Silverback. The names are mine, but they’re not me. I am Ivan, just Ivan, only Ivan. (pages 1-2)
Doesn’t that remind you of Harry Potter when he says to Hagrid in the Sorcerer’s Stone movie, “But I’m just…just Harry!”
Ivan does have a couple friends, an old elephant named Stella and a stray dog named Bob that sneaks into Ivan’s cage every night to sleep on his warm belly. The three of them get by. They don’t talk much about what could be better, they just deal with every day. When the Exit 8 Big Top owner realizes attendance is way down he buys a baby elephant, a terrified baby elephant named Ruby, to make more people want to visit.
We’ve got a new arrival. This is Ruby, folks. Six hundred pounds of fun to save our sorry butts. This gal is gonna sell us some tickets.” (page 69)
Ruby’s arrival makes Stella and Ivan see their situation in a different way. Stella, in particular, can’t stand the idea of Ruby growing up at the mall. While Ivan and Stella have grown old and gotten to the point where life at the mall is good enough, they don’t think life at the mall is good enough for Ruby. So, in the spirit of Charlotte’s Web, Ivan hatches a plan hoping to save Ella from a lonely life at the mall, a plan that just might save the others too. You’ll cry and cheer both. It’s cool to see Ivan get his Mighty back. He isn’t just Ivan. He’s Ivan the Mighty Silverback. Author: Katherine Applegate
Ivan’s story is based on a real gorilla that lived for 27 years in a mall zoo but now lives at Zoo Atlanta in a habitat made especially for gorillas. Ivan will turn 50 this year! You can read about him and the effort it took to move him to his current home.
NPR: Ivan Dies at 50 – a Gorilla Life Remembered Best Quote “Ivan’s story has touched thousands of people. He reminded us that even as we must face the “big” conservation and environmental problems with an ecosystem approach, we can’t forget the individuals, each of whom has a story, a personality and a history.” ~Barbara J. King Now Katherine Applegate’s book will help Ivan’s story touch thousands more.
If you like Ivan here are some more stories that imagine what life would be like from the animal’s point of view. We can never really know of course, but it IS interesting to imagine. You also might like to read about the gorilla Koko. Koko learned sign language, which makes you wonder if we CAN learn a little about what animals think. The last four books are about scientists who study gorillas in the wild or in captivity. Really, really fascinating. And I’m warnin’ ya…the animal stories will make you cry, just like Ivan. If you have a pet you’ll go hug it and think more about your responsibility and what it means to have an animal friend.
A picture book biography telling the story of Sylvia Earle’s growing passion for the wonders of the sea and how her ocean exploration and advocacy have made her known around the world. Author: Claire Nivola
Try to imagine swimming with whales, walking the ocean floor, and spending over seven thousand hours underwater. This beautiful picture book biography introduces young readers to a woman who has done all that and more. Sylvia Earle has been a scientist about as long as she can remember. When she was a little girl her laboratory was the pond and woods on her family’s New Jersey farm. At the age of twelve Sylvia moved with her family to a new home in Florida bringing the Gulf of Mexico right up to her backyard. The ocean became Sylvia Earle’s new laboratory where she has dedicated her life to exploring what she calls, “the blue heart of the planet”.
Recommended by: Catherine Lutholtz Bridge – The Learning Curve at Central Library
Ever since they were Snotsippers, Jack and the girl have fought, until one day she steals his bike and as he and the Amigos try to recover it, Jack realizes that he is growing up and must eventually leave the “goodlands and badlands of Hokey Pokey.”
“Readers who love the classic Peter Pan, will be fascinated by Newbery Medalist, Jerry Spinelli’s latest book, Hokey Pokey.
Only children live in Hokey Pokey. Here Newbies, Snotsippers, Gapper Gums and Big kids spend endless days playing at what they like most. There’s the Doll Farm, Trucks, Playground, watching cartoons on the Big Screen and riding bikes. Jack, the oldest, smartest, and fastest bike rider is their leader. He can answer any question, settle disputes and rescue the helpless. One day Jack’s beloved bike, Scramjet is stolen and something is different. He discovers an unexpected outcome. “
Recommended by Beverly Elrod, Haughville Branch Library
Clara is a lonely only child growing up in a grief-filled house. Her parents are overwhelmed with sadness after the deaths of all of brothers and sisters. Not just one. ALL of them. Every holiday, every Sunday even, the family walks to the cemetery and remembers “the Others”. It’s very hard for Clara to have so many days of her life taken up with mourning. And it isn’t that she doesn’t miss her brothers and sisters. She does. But she is having trouble figuring out how to LIVE now that they are gone.
For her 12th birthday Clara begs to have a puppet show. She longs for something fun because there is just so much sadness in her house. She pleads. She cries. She gets her way! And when Grisini and his assistants, two orphans named Lizzie Rose and Parsefall, come to perform they are SO good the show seems like MAGIC! It’s like the marionettes have no strings. They move just like people!
When Clara disappears after the puppet show Grisini is suspect #1, but no one can find him. Lizzie Rose and Parsefal can’t even find him…but they do notice a new puppet, one that looks really, really familiar. Can you guess where this is going? Lizzie Rose and Parsefal are tough and street wise and know how to take care of business, even when the business gets a little creepy. And in this book, it sure DOES.
Lizzie Rose and Parsefal follow this mystery to a creepy old country house as well as the creepy old lady who lives there. Again, I mean CREEPY. They need to be brave and smart and resourceful. They also have to know how to be a good friend. Author: Laura Amy Schlitz
This is a great read for lovers of Coraline or The Graveyard Book. Spooky. Spooky wonderful! It has a creepy old mansion like The Secret Garden, and ghostly characters like The Aviary and The Shadows. If you like to read stories with just a little bit of shiver in them…try Splendors & Glooms or one of these: