The One and Only Ivan
From Library Staff
Simple and approachable while at the same time subtle and complex.
Intelligent, compassionate, honest, sad, dramatic, fantastical, gritty, and hopeful in all the right amounts.
Predictable yet still suspenseful.
About a small cast of animals. About humanity.
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.
Read-aloud by an adult.
Added by JCLHelenH.
This title is also available as an eBook and Audiobook CD. 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.
Interestingly, Ivan reminds me of Melody Brooks from Out Of My Mind, by Sharon M. Draper. Both are smart but unable to communicate. Julia becomes Ivan's Elvira, a medi-talker Melody has to use to communicate.
From the critics
AgeAdd Age Suitability
joycemas thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 12
olive_cat_145 thinks this title is suitable for 6 years and over
black_wolf_687 thinks this title is suitable for 7 years and over
branch_reviews thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 13
sential thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 6 and 13
LocketLibrarian thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over
QuotesAdd a Quote
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.
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."
“Human babies are an ugly lot. But their eyes are like our babies’ eyes. Too big for their faces, and for the world.”
SummaryAdd a Summary
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.
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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