The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan

Book - 2012
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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.
Publisher: New York : Harper, c2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780061992254
Characteristics: 305 p., ill. ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Castelao, Patricia


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Apr 11, 2018

Awesome book. Ivan is funny, helpful, and considerate! I love him and everyone else!

Apr 02, 2018

I really liked this book, it is both sad and happy. It is a good read.

AlisonBookWyrm Mar 26, 2018

This book is perfect for younger readers wanting to read larger books without being intimidated by large blocks of text. It reads almost like a picture book with short paragraphs and stand alone sentences. Ivan the gorilla narrates this wonderful animal fiction story filled with both sad and happy moments.

Dec 06, 2017

i only have three word BEST.BOOK.EVER

Oct 12, 2017

lovely book.

peterpanbookclub Oct 02, 2017

What a gorgeous character Ivan is. His outlook may seem simplistic ... or maybe just right.

Jun 23, 2017

This is a must read for children and adults. Sweet, thought provoking, and it's impossible not to fall in love with Ivan and his friends.

Jun 15, 2017

An easy yet fun read. Recommended to all ages.

Jun 06, 2017

I am seven years old. My mom read this book to us. I really liked it because it had a happy ending, it's funny and I liked how the gorilla drew pictures. I hope we can read it again sometime. **extra note from Mom: There are some dark portions in this story but it does turn out well in the end. We read in short bursts to allow the kids time to process and I pre-read the book so that I could be sure to always end on an up note for the day. Excellent story.

JCLEmilyD May 02, 2017

This is a story about Ivan the gorilla. Ivan is a real gorilla who lived in a cage at a mall for close to 3 decades. 'The One and Only Ivan' is a fictionalized tale from Ivan point of view that includes a few animal friends. This is a story of sadness, hope, friendship, art, and how to be a hero. A wonderful book.

The copy I read had author's notes in the back that included Applegate's acceptance speech for winning the Newberry Award, my favorite quote from her speech is as follows: "Children know all about sadness. We can't hide it from them but we can teach them how to deal with it and to harness their imagination in the search for hope and wonder. Nothing in the world can do that better than a book."

Applegate has also written a picture book about Ivan titled, 'Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla'. (I read it too!)

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Add Age Suitability

May 19, 2018

Number1HorseLover thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

May 18, 2018

blacktealatte thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

May 06, 2018

Hiny thinks this title is suitable for 7 years and over

Mar 10, 2018

red_cat_9776 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 7 and 12

Feb 12, 2018

daisy0001 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 15

Jul 26, 2017

black_dolphin_108 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Nov 28, 2016

erica100 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Aug 15, 2016

Aqua1633 thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

Jul 18, 2016

LifeLoverSam thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

Mar 07, 2016

black_cat_3047 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 11

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Add a Quote

May 19, 2018

She's far away, belly deep in tall grass with others by her side.
"She's here, Stella," I whisper. " RUby's safe. Just like I promised."
I call to Ruby but the wind tugs at my words and I know she'll never hear me.
Still Ruby pauses for a second, her ears spread wide like tiny sails.
Then, with lumbering grace, she moves on through the grass.

May 19, 2018

I miss my old cage.

I miss my art.

But most of all, I miss Bob.

My belly's cold without him.

Nov 28, 2016

"Hello, I am Ivan. I am a gorilla. It's not as easy as it looks."

Aug 15, 2016

"But here, I had no one to protect"

Aug 15, 2016

"And it's not a domain," I add.

I pause, and then I say it. "It's a cage"

Jul 13, 2016

"My name is Ivan"
"I live in a glass box"

Aug 15, 2015

"I nap when I can."

May 05, 2015

"I gaze at the huge, shadowy box, and suddenly I understand how Ruby feels. I don't want to go into that box.

The last time I was in a box, my sister died."

JCLChrisK Apr 30, 2013

Bob, who has been chewing his tail, pauses, tilting his head. "Is that a true story?"

"I always tell the truth," Stella replies. "Although I sometimes confuse the facts."

JCLChrisK Apr 30, 2013

In my new life as a human, I was well tended. I ate lettuce leaves with Thousand Island dressing, and caramel apples, and popcorn with butter. My belly ballooned.

But hunger, like food, comes in many shapes and colors. At night, lying alone in my Pooh pajamas, I felt hungry for the skilled touch of a grooming friend, for the cheerful grunts of a play fight, for the easy safety of my nearby troop, foraging through shadows. . . .

Sometimes I lay awake, wishing for the warmth of another just like me, asleep in a night nest of tender prayer-plant leaves.

I liked having sips of soda poured into my mouth like a bubbling waterfall. But every now and then, I longed to search for a tender stalk of arrowroot, to feel the tease of a mango, just out of reach.

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Add a Summary

Jun 10, 2015

"The One and Only Ivan" is a novel by Katherine Applegate. Ivan is a silverback gorilla who lives in a stationary circus. Ivan is good friends with the other animals in the circus, especially Stella the elephant and Bob, a stray dog. When Stella dies, Ivan makes a promise to save her young friend, Ruby, from a life of captivity. It takes some time, but Ivan and Ruby are eventually moved to a zoo. "The One and Only Ivan" is a book of great courage and hope.

Jul 25, 2014

Having spent 27 years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes.

Jul 07, 2013

This book is told from the point of view of the gorilla Ivan. Ivan is treated as a means for income and certainly not a respected animal of God's creation. Applegate's story tells of Ivan's friendships with the other animals in this shopping mall mini-circus.


Basically what we have here is Charlotte’s Web if you took that tiny spider and replaced her with a 300-pound gorilla. Which, to be frank, would normally bode badly for said gorilla. And certainly badly is how Ivan, the titular hero of this tale, bodes when you consider that he is trapped in an off-highway mall circus. Ivan’s never questioned his fate seriously, considering that he’s been there for twenty-seven years. Then one day Mack, the owner of the mall, decides that the only way to drum up more business will be to buy a new resident. There’s already Ivan and Stella, the elephant with an injured foot that doesn’t seem to be getting better. To this mix comes Ruby, a baby elephant not long captured from her home in the wild. Thanks to Ruby, Ivan sees that this is no place for a baby of any sort and he must use all his brains and intelligence to find a way to save not just her but himself as well.


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