Ivan, Divan, and Zariman
Marta Koci ~ Parents’ Magazine Press, 1973
Still lingering in the 1970s here, I can’t help but be drawn to anything published during the time I would have been likely to discover it as a child. (Thus why – since the beginning of summer – my son has had to sit through The Explorers, The Goonies, and even an edited and truncated version of Stand by Me – do you have any idea how difficult it is to censor the cussing in that movie? Whew.)
Enter a book I never knew as a child, but am sure would have crushed me if I’d gotten hold of it at an impressionable age. Depressingly sweet, if your child has any empathy at all, they’ll weep buckets during a melancholy read like this.
Here is a house.
Its name is Number 140.
And here comes the little boy who lives in it.
His name is Ivan.
Ivan is going up the stairs into the attic.
The attic is his favorite room,
because it is full of all sorts of things
that nobody has any use for anymore —
nobody except Ivan.
The story of a boy and his best friends, Divan the sofa and Zariman the mouse, we experience the wonder and magic of having a secret place all your own to escape to. However, in a twist similar to The Velveteen Rabbit as well as the recent movie hit in our house, Kooky, Ivan arrives home one day to find a truck from the local dump loading up his hidden friends.
When the child runs away to find them, he is crushed to discover Divan has been, well, crushed, and it is up to Ivan and the mouse to continue on alone. And that’s basically the end. Nice, right? Underlying themes of death, loss and memory trundle through these pages that, despite the tragic end, do manage to find solace in the remembering.