Shopping Mall Gorilla
This tender tale of friendship and hope is narrated by a silverback gorilla living at The Big Top Mall, a shabby, circus-themed roadside attraction. For years, Ivan was passively content. He had his art, unlimited bananas, and his friends: Stella (an elephant), Bob (a stray dog), and Julia (a human child). Ivan's eyes are finally opened to his deplorable surroundings when he loses a friend due to neglect. The last straw is when he witnesses the attraction's owner abusing Ruby, a newly acquired baby elephant. Thus, Ivan is inspired to take action. With some help from his human friends, his dream of a better life for all the Big Top's animals just might come true. The character of Ivan, as explained in an author's note, is inspired by a real gorilla that lived through similar conditions before being adopted by Zoo Atlanta. Applegate makes a powerful statement about the treatment of animals—especially those living in captivity—and reminds readers that all creatures deserve a safe place to call home. Castelao's delightful illustrations enhance this lovely story, and the characters will capture readers' hearts and never let go. A must-have.
(From School Library Journal, January 2012 )
When Ivan, a gorilla who has lived for years in a down-and-out circus-themed mall, meets Ruby, a baby elephant that has been added to the mall, he decides that he must find her a better life.