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Skink No Surrender by Carl Hiassen

Carl Hiaasen has done it again...and for the young adult audience this time!  I have enjoyed all of his books for kids - Flush, Hoot, Scat and Chomp.  The books he writes for adults are entertaining as well.  This is his first YA novel, and it contains all of the elements of classic Hiaasen- engaging dialogue, characters that are a little off base (at least one!), environmental issues and a fast paced storyline.  Skink No Surrender tells the story of cousins - Richard and Malley - and what happens when Malley goes off the grid.  Her parents think she is one place, Richard's not sure what is happening, he just knows something is not right - and all of a sudden he is off to find Malley riding shotgun with Skink, a ragged, one-eyed, wandering vigilante, with perfect teeth.  Skink is also the former governor of Florida...and supposedly dead.  Hope you enjoy this ride - it is a fun read and definitely worth the escape!!  

The One and Only Ivan

"I am Ivan. I am a gorilla.
It's not as easy as it looks."

This is the beginning of Ivan's story. Ivan is a silverback gorilla that lives in his domain at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. His friends are a dog named Bob, an elephant named Stella, and a young girl named Julia who smuggles art supplies to Ivan. Ivan enjoys making his drawings, which are sold in the gift shop at the Big Top Mall ($20 apiece - $25 with a frame). It is with the arrival of Ruby, a young elephant, that Ivan has to make the decision as to where he will live the rest of his life - at the Big Top Mall? Or find a new home at a zoo?

The One and Only Ivan has been on my "to read" list since it's publication in 2012. Katherine Applegate has told the story from Ivan's point of view and it's interesting to think of the possibility of a gorilla attempting to communicate with the outside world: through words, through pictures, through actions. While this book is written in a simple style, the message of freedom and the promise of care implied by animal caretakers seeps through the pages of this book. Between Applegate's words and the illustrations of Patricia Castelao the reader is fully immersed in Ivan's world, sitting on the edge of their seat, waiting to see what happens next. This is a quick but very worthwhile read.

Check out this title in print, book on CD, or eBook.

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