Ivan is a gorilla of few, but well-chosen, words. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he’s used to us peering at him through the glass but make no mistake, he’s been watching us too. In my size humans see a test of themselves. They hear fighting words on the wind, when all I’m thinking is how the late-day sun reminds me of a ripe nectarine.’ But Ivan’s thoughtful life of resignation abruptly changes, with the imminent arrival of a baby elephant. His elderly elephant companion, injured by cruelty in captivity, asks him to ensure the baby doesn’t suffer her own fate. Katherine Applegate’s powerful story is inspired by a real Ivan; she explains: I wanted to give him someone to protect, and the chance to be the mighty silverback he was always meant to be.’ Expect tears before bedtime but they may well be your own!