THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN
by Katherine Applegate
MG Animal Fantasy
Reviewed from purchased copy.
ABOUT THE BOOK
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.
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
Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create
Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship,
art, and hope.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I'd heard so many good things about this book that I was eager to read it. And now that I have I have to agree with the wonderful things that I've been hearing. I loved it. Not only was the writing lyrical and beautiful to read, but the characters were heart-warming and sweet. The story revolves around Ivan, a silverback gorilla who lives in a mall where he performs with other animals in a small circus-like show. His best friends are a small stray dog named Bob and a former circus elephant named Stella. Their pretty routine life is interrupted with the arrival of a baby elephant named Ruby. Stella is determined that Ruby will not spend her life in a cage and so Ivan promises to help Ruby get out of this dead-end life. But how on earth is he going to do it? He is after all just a gorilla, or is he?
This is definitely a story that makes you go, "ahhh" afterwords. But I personally love happy endings however realistic or unrealistic they may be. One needs to keep in mind however that this is animal FANTASY and as such is bound to have elements that are more believable than others. I prefer however to give the characters the benefit of the doubt and animals are much better at communicating than we as humans sometimes believe. As for intelligence, I've long believed that animals are far more intelligent than they are often given credit for. Plus, I love animals stories, so for me I found the story more than believable enough and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. This one would make for great shared reading as well. I can't recommend this one highly enough.