The One and Only Ivan
Author: Katherine Applegate
Published: January 17, 2012
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: June 15-20, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
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.
I listened to the audiobook version of The One and Only Ivan: It gives the fictional story of a real gorilla, Ivan, who lived for 27 years in a shopping mall until he was moved to Zoo Atlanta in 1994 where he lived the rest of his life. Ivan passed away on August 20, 2012.
The One and Only Ivan is written for children, but adults could enjoy it as well. Ivan and the other animals did not have a happy life and Applegate made Ivan’s story feel all the more personal through this novel. There are tough issues addressed in the novel (the death of an animal) and the protestors. The tough issues are handled well for children to understand and adults to feel something as well.
I encourage you to learn about the real Ivan and his story before reading this fictional version. The book ends with a timeline of Ivan’s history.
The narrator did a very good job keeping my interest. He did great with Ivan’s voice with Ivan having been a silverback.
The One and Only Ivan is recommended.
Zoo Atlanta’s site about Ivan is here.
Ivan’s obituary is here.
Here is a video of Ivan: https://youtu.be/FF1oWHL-lSs