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The One and Only Ivan

by Katherine Applegate

Other authors: Patricia Castelao (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The One and Only Ivan (1)

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7,3093781,184 (4.31)140
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.
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    BookshelfMonstrosity: These tender, wistful stories of survival are told from an animal's perspective -- stray pooch, Squirrel, and captured gorilla, Ivan. While humans both help and hinder them during their long struggles, they find hope (and secure homes) in the end.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 381 (next | show all)
This title, The One and Only Ivan, was recommended to me as "my favorite juvenile fiction book". While I tend to shy away from books with animals which talk (never enjoyed them as a kid), I decided to give this one a try based on that high recommendation. Also it and its sequels/companion books The One and Only Bob and The One and Only Ruby are VERY popular with its intended audience.

I went in cold, not knowing anything else. I got past the hurdle of the talking animals: a gorilla (Ivan) and his friends a dog (Bob) and an elephant (Ruby). I wasn't expecting the book to be so ... sad! Heartbreakingly sad, in fact. Especially with the story being told from Ivan's point of view. The camaraderie between Ivan, Bob and Ruby is beautiful though. ( )
  deslivres5 | Sep 5, 2023 |
A wonderful and heart breaking chapter book for upper elementary students as well as middle schoolers (I guess for any chapter book readers!) Ivan is a silverback gorilla who is stuck at an exhibit in the mall. He has Bob, a dog who is a mutt who likes to sleep on Ivan's belly, and Stella, an elephant. Eventually, Stella has to go, but not before a new baby Elephant, Ruby comes along. Ivan promises he'll keep Ruby safe and get her out of there. Ivan is a talented artist and uses his work to interact with the janitors daughter. Ivan doesn't know how he'll help Ruby, he just knows he has to. This book really connects with it's readers and I love how easy it is to read. The white space on the pages is great, especially for young readers. The chapters are short as well. This is a great option for older readers, but would work great as a read aloud in younger grade levels. ( )
  TaylorRussell98 | Jul 26, 2023 |
This book is now one of my favorites of all time. It tells a fictionalized version of Ivan the gorilla's story. Ivan was a gorilla that lived in a strip mall in Tacoma, Washington for most of his life. He was taken from the wild, sold to a man in Tacoma, and raised with humans until he was eventually placed in a cage/display at the B & I. I grew up near to there and remember seeing Ivan when I was very young. I also remember the eventual push to release him to somewhere where he had a more enjoyable life. This book takes much of that story, adds elements to pull in the reader, and tells the story from Ivan's point of view. Applegate writes poetically and describes so many aspects of the life of animals alongside humans from an outsider's perspective that it is at once a heartwarming and heart wrenching story. I think this story is enjoyable for people of all ages, though it is clearly written for younger readers. While there is a movie out based on the story, I can't imagine that it does the wonderful storytelling of Katherine Applegate justice. I cannot wait to read this story with students in the coming school year. ( )
  merrisam | Jul 26, 2023 |
Both heart-wrenching and heartwarming. A well crafted story, I enjoy the style of a collection of vignettes telling a single story. After all, gorillas don't waste words the way humans do. ( )
  eurydactyl | Jul 20, 2023 |
for children's literature or a read aloud it was amazing. read it in one sitting. was worried in the beginning that it was too depressing, but it was great on many levels. ( )
  Asauer72 | Jul 3, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 381 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Applegate, Katherineprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Castelao, PatriciaIllustratorsecondary 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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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.

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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.
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