The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate - Book Review

The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate - Book Review

It’s simple to read with illustrations and not many words on each of its pages, but don’t let that fool anyone to the powerful and empathetic read for kids and adults of The One and Only Ivan.

The story of Ivan is about a nonchalant gorilla who outgrew his stay in a home, and Mack, the homeowner, placing him in the zoo section of the Exit 8 Mall which Mack also owns. There, Ivan lives in a glass cage for entertainment purposes. Ivan entertains people because he considers himself an artist and draws things; including his desire to communicate.

Residing in the same mall zoo is a sick elephant, a stray dog, and later a baby elephant joins them; Stella, Bob, and Ruby, respectively. We view the world through the eyes of Ivan and the other animal residents that all have something to offer in the way of animal intuition. You will see sadness and joy, despair and hope, naivety and cynicism. Ivan’s life becomes more challenging with the arrival of Ruby. He has made a promise to Stella, concerning Ruby, and he's not sure how he’s going to keep it.

The book is loosely based upon the real-life Silverback gorilla Ivan who lived for 27 years in a roadside exhibition.   

Early into this story, Ivan tells us that humans are derived from apes. Now, we all have our own beliefs of where we came from so you can choose to agree or disagree with Ivan, and just reach your own essence of this book which has strong characterization that bonds you with Ivan and the others.

You will draw your own conclusions about animals held in captivity. When there is a half-fantasy book where animals are the main characters, it becomes imperative to portray humans as well. 

You don’t have to be a child or an animal lover to enjoy this book. In fact, it might be better if you are neither so that as an adult you can reevaluate your view on animals the next time you visit a zoo or circus.

Book Details

Title: The One and Only Ivan
Format: Paperback
Author: Katherine Applegate
Language : English
Publisher : HarperCollins
ISBN: 978-0061992278

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Updated 3 years ago