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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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1,2811746,134 (4.4)60
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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Showing 1-5 of 196 (next | show all)
An amazingly simple story with a strong message. Will appeal to animal lovers and anyone who has ever wondered if wild animals have thoughts and feelings like humans. A few characters (easy to keep track of), each of them make a huge impact on the story. Some parts may be distressing for sensitive readers but do not let that deter you from reading. ( )
  MichelleUnger | Oct 14, 2014 |
A very touching book about a silverback ape living in a local mall with other animals, including a a sick elephant (Stella) and a stray dog (Bob). Ivan has accepted his lot and makes the most of it he can by calling his cage his domain and interacting with Stella, Bob and a young girl, Julie, who accompanies her father while he cleans the mall every evening. But everything changes when a very young elephant (Ruby) is added to the mix. Ruby cannot accept her fate and Stella makes Ivan promise before her death that he will get Ruby to a Zoo where she will have space and other elephants to care for her. Katherine Applegate handles this difficult subject with care and grace and every child reading it will come away from it knowing the plight of animals housed in small cages. ( )
  whymaggiemay | Sep 28, 2014 |
This book is an amazing treasure! Based on a true story, Katherine Applegate has given a voice to Ivan, the gorilla who was kept captive in a mall circus for 27 years.

I fell in love with all the characters in The One and Only Ivan -- Ivan, his friends Stella and Bob, little Ruby who comes in and changes the way Ivan sees his world, George, and especially Julia. I feel hope for a world that has "Julias" in it - a good human who doesn't use too many human words to communicate, but who feels with her heart and speaks with her actions.

I don't even hate Mack, who runs the mall circus. I feel in a way he is like Ivan, who doesn't see himself as a gorilla and who isn't human. Ivan feels he is some mixture in the middle of gorilla/human, "they have no name for what I am." Mack is similar. He isn't really a good human, nor is he all bad. What started out as good intentions and ignorance, changed somewhere along the line and took him over.

The story is told in the 1st person point of view of Ivan. Katherine Applegate's writing style, especially her use of descriptive language, is just beautiful. I have so many descriptive sections highlighted in this book! If a teacher were looking for a good mentor text to point out similes and metaphors, this is a good one. Here are some of the examples that I loved:

"Her eyes hold the pale moon in them, the way a still pond holds stars." p. 166
"My fingertips glow like jungle flowers." p. 179
"soundless as the wet wings of a new butterfly" p. 207
"His mop moves across the empty food court like a giant brush, painting a picture no one will ever see." p. 233
She is "beautiful, like a painting that moves" p. 273
"her ears spread wide like tiny sails." p. 295

Ivan himself probably describes his own tale best when he says, "I like colorful tales with black beginnings and stormy middles and cloudless blue-sky endings." I recommend this book to everyone! ( )
  stephanie.croaning | Sep 28, 2014 |
This was such a cool book. Someone told me it was based on the Gorilla, Ivan, that is at the Atlanta Zoo although in the book there is no mention of this. It's not often that I find a book written from an animal's point of view and yet, I've had students ask me for them. Despite the 300+ pages, it was a very fast read with few words on a page. ( )
  kburgett | Sep 27, 2014 |
Chicken soup for the soul. The Grinch himself would be hard-pressed not to empathise with Ivan's story. With a gorgeous cover and a heartbreaking memoir of a lonely, caged gorilla living among other mistreated "circus" animals, delivered via emotionally-charged and insightful writing, Ms. Applegate forced tears from this stoic, 25-year-old pessimist.


I am Ivan. I am a gorilla.

It's not as easy as it looks.

People call me the Freeway Gorilla. The Ape at Exit 8. The One and Only Ivan, Mighty Silverback.

The names are mine, but they're not me. I am Ivan, just Ivan, only Ivan.

Humans waste words. They toss them like banana peels and leave them to rot.'

By reading The One and Only Ivan we walk a few miles in Ivan's shoes, so to speak. His wistful words touch your heart. His friend, Stella the elephant, twists your soul with her story and sentiments. Ruby, the baby elephant, you're desperate to save from Stella's fate. My arms ached with wanting to hug these (obviously wild and dangerous) creatures.

'Every night, when the stores close and the moon washes the world with milky light, Stella and I talk.

We don't have much in common, but we have enough. We are huge and alone, and we both love yogurt raisins.

Sometimes Stella tells stories of her childhood, of leafy canopies hidden by mist and the busy songs of flowing water. Unlike me, she recalls every detail of her past.'

The graceful language is simple and concise yet colourfully illuminating. No words are wasted. The author implies rather than tells, allowing readers to draw our own conclusions. The lovely illustrations are sparse but functional. I knew early on this would be a five star re-read. Ivan's philisophical observations, his acceptance of his circumstances, his stubborn desire to never remember his wild and free childhood before he was captured, his all-consuming, engrossing characterisation, and the way he changes to become the silverback he's always wanted to be, like his father, when he meets Ruby -make this a page-turner.

'I am never angry.

Anger is precious. A silverback uses anger to maintain order and warn his troop of danger. When my father beat his chest, it was to say, Beware, listen, I am in charge. I am angry to protect you, because that is what I was born to do.

Here in my domain, there is no one to protect.'

At page 72, my heart clenched and my eyes misted over with the introduction of baby Ruby, her distress and Stella's comfort...I'm tearing up just thinking about it. Ruby's a curious innocent you want to protect, and Ivan and Stella do their best.

This story is loosely based on a real gorilla called Ivan, and other elements of it are real too. I've come away thinking the human race are scum that should be exterminated to allow all animals to live natural, peaceful lives without fear of human murderers and torturers. Me, the meat-eating non-pacifist. I suddenly feel the need to contribute to an animal welfare charity. That's probably the message working its magic on me.

I highly recommend this captivating book to everyone over the age of 12, because the beginning is full of the depressing reality of cruelty to animals despite the sweet and somewhat predictable happy-ever-after ending. Even those with hearts made of ice can't fail to melt whilst reading this.

***A special thank you to Shannon and her status updates which inspired me to read this.*** ( )
  Cynical_Ames | Sep 23, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
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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