On Becoming an Artist

Jun 28, 2024 by Rose O'Keefe

The plot had two-step setbacks and one-step-forward successes. The humans, Mark the stressed-out mall owner, lonely Julie and her sad dad the janitor, were believable, but what made this story shine was how Ivan became an artist. Ivan’s comment that the best part of the banana was the peel and his wry observations on human folly were terrific. The drive to move Ivan to a zoo made for a wonderful happy ending.

The contrast between Ivan and Flora and Ulysses, Kate DeCamillo’s 2014 winner, was jarring. DiCamillo’s story started with a crazy scene in which a squirrel got super powers after being sucked up in a vacuum cleaner. It revolved around lonely Flora’s decision to keep him and call him Ulysses. Flora’s quiet world was full of odd people, some easier to like than others, like the annoying grandson of the neighbor who vacuumed the squirrel in the first place.  The bizarre plot to save Ulysses from being killed by Flora’s mother had a fantastical unraveling. Flora’s quirky, sad father, his elderly neighbor in his apartment building, Ulysses’ defeat of the building’s bully of a cat, the annoying boy and the satisfaction of Ulysses getting to fulfill his destiny as a poet, made for a fun summer read.
http://rokeefehistory.com/blog: #TheOneandOnlyIvan; #KatherineApplegate; #NewberyAward; #animalabuse; #zoos; #FloraandUlysses; #KateDeCammilo; #brokenfamilies; #honesty;