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The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

The One and Only Ivan (edition 2012)

by Katherine Applegate, Patricia Castelao (Illustrator)

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Title:The One and Only Ivan
Authors:Katherine Applegate
Other authors:Patricia Castelao (Illustrator)
Info:HarperCollins (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library

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The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate


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Ivan is a performing gorilla at The Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. He makes drawings that are sold, with or without a frame. He draws, colors, and later, paints. He is an artist. He had always been one. Stella is an elephant, also part of the sideshow at the Mall. Bob is a dog; he is his own master. He likes sleeping on Ivan’s stomach. The three are friends.

When a baby elephant, Ruby, is brought to the Mall, to improve business, Stella adopts her. Ruby is just a baby and very inquisitive. Soon she is friends with Ivan and Bob.

Daisy wants a better life for Ruby. She makes Ivan promise he will help Ruby, which he does.

This then, is the brief story. It is about rescuing an animal and finding it a good home. What sets the book apart is that the rescue is carried out by another animal. Again, not really. Panchatantra Tales and Aesop’s Fables have animals helping each other. If a mouse can help a lion, why not a gorilla rescue an elephant?

I think this is not an animal rescue story. Primarily, it is about taking a look at ourselves, the homo sapiens. Like Stella says, “Human beings can surprise you sometimes. An unpredictable species, Homo sapiens.”

There are other issues also and the story serves as a vehicle for them. For instance, Ivan blanks out his earlier years, which is a common reaction to trauma. George reminisces about Ivan's early years; the classic case of the abuser deluding himself. ( )
  gitavreddy | May 7, 2015 |
Heart breaking and heart warming all at one. A must read for everyone both young and old. ( )
  katherineemilysmith | May 4, 2015 |
The One and Only Ivan is about a gorilla named Ivan that lives in a small circus. The circus does not properly care for him or any of the other animals. Ivan is a very unique gorilla in that he is artistic. He loves to paint and finds that by expressing himself through art he can change the world around him. During the course of the story, Ivan becomes friends with a baby elephant named Ruby. Ruby is very scared. To make Ruby feel safer and more at home, Ivan paints Ruby a proper home. The painting depicts a lovely zoo with happy animals. The billboard garners lots of attention from the community and starts a protest. Eventually, Ruby and Ivan end up going to a zoo very much like the one that Ivan painted.

I liked this book a lot. It not only as a good message - if you take care of animals they will like you and therefore listen to you, but it also plays with the theme does life imitate art or does art imitate life.

My favorite part of this story was when the animals are in their new habitats and Ivan climbs to the top of the tree and sees Ruby safe and happy. This story of friendship resonates with me because I am at my happiest when I see my friends and loved ones happy. ( )
  KendallCH | Apr 30, 2015 |
Summary: A story of a silver back gorilla named Ivan who was taken away from his family, who was murdered by humans. He is living in a mall behind glass but soon starts to enjoy it so, becoming accustomed to the human ways. He enjoys his television but enjoys is art more. He enjoys the simple things in life from the different tastes of fruits to the sound leaves make in the wind and the vibrant colors leaves can have. This is all great until he meets a new friend named Ruby. Ruby is a baby elephant who was also taken away from her family. After seeing her being punished by humans he starts to look closely at the way he is living and finally admits that he is in a cage. He does not want to see Ruby live the way she is living and promises her that he will save her.

Personal Reaction: Amazing, great book. This book may be a book for a child reader but this is a great adult read also. Funny, sad, deep, makes you think about your best friend and your family and how far you would go to save them.

Classroom Extension: Make gorillas during arts and crafts for that is what ivan likes is art. have a colorful vibrant background and look into the what can be done to help save these endangered animals.
  estep13 | Apr 15, 2015 |
This is a great book, but a tearjerker. I really want to read it out loud to my children. This is a wonderful book for middle readers and high school students the content is great and the language is simple
  RachelSchillreff | Apr 13, 2015 |
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Katherine Applegateprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baldinucci, LoredanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It is never too late to be

what you might have been.

--George Eliot
for Julia
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I am Ivan. I am a gorilla. It's not as easy as it looks.
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Book description
--from the book summary

When Ivan, a gorilla who has lived for years in a down-and-out circus-themed mall, meets Ruby, a baby elephant that has been added to the mall, he decides that he must find her a better life.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061992259, Hardcover)

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:17 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

When Ivan, a gorilla who has lived for years in a down-and-out circus-themed mall, meets Ruby, a baby elephant that has been added to the mall, he decides that he must find her a better life.

(summary from another edition)

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