This book by Katherine Applegate is a sequel to the Newbery Medal Winner, ‘ The One and Only Ivan’. It is a fictional book with humour, fun and dark pasts. This book describes the journey of Ruby, a young elephant that loves spending time in the mud pool with her friends Ivan - the silverback gorilla and Bob a mutt with uncertain heritage. Ruby lives at the Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary in the Elephant Odyssey. Ivan is Ruby’s next-door neighbour at the Gorilla World and Bob lives with Julia, a human friend.
Ruby starts growing tusks but she really hates them because she feels that they are a burden. She also doesn’t want to celebrate her ‘Tuskday’ which is a celebration that takes place after the arrival of a young elephant’s tusks. One day, she meets her old caretaker who took care of her at an elephant orphanage in Africa. Ruby starts to recall her past memories- both happy and sad. She finds the courage to tell Ivan and Bob about her time at the African savannah. She remembers her entire journey from her hard times at the savannah to being displayed at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. Ruby has a photographic memory and vividly remembers her experiences from childhood till date. She shares her fears, joys, sorrows and her embarrassments with Ivan and Bob throughout the book.
This book talks about illegal poaching and elephants being killed ruthlessly for their tusks. An elephant glossary, beautiful illustrations and the humour in between makes this book more interesting to read.
I think anyone who reads this book will find it very interesting and get absorbed in it but, I suggest you first read ‘The One and Only Ivan’ and ‘The One and Only Bob’(both sequels) before reading this book. Both the books are equally interesting and this collection is one of the best animal friendship stories collections.
I learnt the importance of friendship in this book and also the fact that they became the best of friends even after them being so different. They always had each other’s back without any judgement and that is what makes this one of the best animal friendship stories collections.
Overall, this book is an excellent read, and I would rate this book 4.5/5 and recommend it to children of ages 9-12.
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