The One and Only Ivan

15 May

The One and OnlyIvan written by Katherine Applegate is a “first-gorilla” narrative about Ivan’s life as he lives and works at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade.  When he makes a promise to an old friend, it is up to Ivan to help a new baby elephant find a place to call home through his artwork and a human friend; a young girl named Julie.

This was a  really interesting book to read because like other animal stories the story is told through an animal’s perspective, but instead of a mouse, cat, or dog, this story is told from the point of view of Ivan, a silverback gorilla.  Humans use too many words, so although this is a larger book, there are actually not many words on each page, but as a reader you can tell each one was chosen specifically to tell the story.

This is an exciting and fun read about animals and is actually based on a true story about a gorilla that lives at Zoo Atlanta.  For more information about the book and the true story it is based on, visit or read this article on the Zoo Atlanta website.

This is a wonderful story for older elementary and young middle students who love animals – especially wild animals.  This book could also be paired with Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel, a book about a chimpanzee being raised as a human child.  Check out my review here.

Title: The One and Only Ivan
Author: Katherine Applegate
Publisher: HarperCollins
Page Number: 320 pgs.


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