6.18.2012

The One and Only Ivan
by Katherine Applegate


Summary:  Ivan is the only gorilla in his "domain", a glass enclosure in the run-down Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade.  Ivan's friends are Stella, a wise elephant, and Bob, a feisty little stray dog.  When Ruby, a baby elephant, comes to live at the mall, Ivan decides something must be done to ensure that she finds a better home and a better life.  

ThoughtsI fell in love with Ivan as soon as I opened the book.  He is a wild gorilla who has had to learn to live in captivity.  Through his years, he has come to understand humans: 

Humans speak too much.  They chatter like chimps, crowding the world with their noise even when they have nothing to say.  It took me some time to recognize all those human sounds, to weave words into things.  But I was patient. Patient is a useful thing to be when you're an ape.

Ivan tells this touching story about friendship, art, dreams, and finding your spot in the world.  His tender point-of-view is fully believable and adds to the charm of the story.  The layout of the book - it feels almost like a novel in verse - and the gentle illustrations add to the special appeal.  This is a book for readers of all ages, a reminder that humans leave a lasting footprint on the earth and that doing the right things makes a difference for every life.  I loved Katherine Applegate's Home of the Brave, and she triumphs again with another memorable story sure to touch the heart of all who read it.  


Read The One and Only Ivan if you ...
  • are an animal lover
  • enjoyed Applegate's Home of the Brave
  • like stories about the power of hope, friendship, and/or art
  • enjoy tearjerker, "tissue" books
  • like novels-in-verse 
  • enjoy illustrated novels
  • appreciate beautifully-crafted writing
  • are looking for a heartwarming story you won't soon forget

Click to read more about the book, the author, and the real Ivan, the gorilla who inspired this tale.    



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