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“it's basically "charlotte's web" with a gorilla and an elephant instead of a spider and a pig, but it's quite excellent. fair warning: the cover claims the book is for "Ages 8-12" but it contains totally heartbreaking depictions of jungle animals being torn from their wild habitats, and watching...”see full review » see other reviews »
“The One and Only Ivan was another favorite book of mine and really made me think about the animals that are captive in zoos and other wildlife preserves. This story is about a silverback gorilla named Ivan that has only one wish, to be free. The only friend he has is an elephant, that eventually dies. Ivan is feeling that he needs to give up but just as he is about to do that another elephant is brought in to the zoo. He know needs to be strong for the baby elephant that also has only one wish, to be free! Will they every be free together?”leah Jadoonath wrote this review 17 hours ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“OMG! IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THIS BOOK . . . READ IT! IT'S ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING BOOKS KNOWN TO HUMAN BEINGS! (Even though it's about a gorilla)”Madeline B. wrote this review 2 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The One and Only Ivan has won awards and is popular. It is about a gorilla who wants more out of life. I like books about animals and this book sounds adorable, but also has substance. I know of a sixth grade teacher who taught this book to her class, so I am interested in how it could be taught. ”Ashley Houk wrote this review 3 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I loved this book so much, because it is great example of friendship. This book is about Ivan who is an ape that lives in this mall off the highway. Its tells how Ivan does not like to be pictured as scary and how he is bored because is kind is supposed to protect family and he has no one to protect. The story continues one and the owner of the mall Mack brings in this baby Elephant who Ivan develops a friendship with. I would use this book as a read aloud in my class, because the chapters are short and it is a good story that the children might not read on their own.”Samantha Patterson wrote this review 4 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“SUMMARY: Ivan is a gentle adolescent silverback gorilla living in a small inclosure at a dilapidated roadside zoo in a crummy mall. He is content painting in his cage and watching television, but only because he barely remember what it means to be a wild gorilla. When his closest friend, Stella the elephant, passes away, Ivan vows to keep the promise he made to her: He will somehow get the zoo's newest addition, Ruby, the opportunity to live a better life.
REVIEW: Applegate writes a classic story of friendship and family from the eyes of a mighty gorilla. Written in simple language, the short vignettes make it easy for even the most reluctant readers. The powerful story and sympathetic animals characters capture the imagination of all readers.
“There are not words to express the pure joy that can be gained when reading this story. The message of the significance of friendship is powerful. The author has cleverly bridged fantasy and reality in such a unique fashion that I frequently reminded myself that this is really just fiction. Not since reading The Shack have I felt the emotionally tugging at my heart that I did in this book. The last chapters were doled out slowly for a week because I didn't want the story to end. This is a must read for anyone who has a heart!”Mrs K wrote this review 4 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I really liked this book. Katherine Applegate does a great job capturing what I think a Gorilla might sound like. This book was about a gorilla named Ivan that lives at a mall and does circus type shows everyday. He has lived there for many years, with other animals. Stella who is an old elephant, Rudy a new baby elephant, and Bob a homeless dog who is Ivan's best friend. Ivan doesn't love his home, but just accepts it as the only place he will ever live. Until his friend Stella dies, and Ivan promises her to get Rudy out of the mall. I thought that this was a great story about the life of a caged animal. When we see animals at the zoo we feel sorry for them and wish they could live in the wild where they belong, and this book brings these thoughts to life. I think that any student would love this book, and I would recommend it to just about any of my students. ”Morgan Mullin wrote this review 6 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I laughed. I cried. But mostly, I was deeply moved. Katherine Applegate's The One and Only Ivan is one of the finest books I have ever read. Like her hero, Ivan, she is an artist of the highest regard, using words judiciously as her medium.
I have not read any other work by Applegate, but in this masterpiece, she wrote in the matter that a proud silverback gorilla might speak, using few words for colossal impact. The dustcover states that this book is for ages 8-12, but I believe it could be enjoyed by students who are older than 12 and especially animal-loving adults (upon finishing this book, I ordered 5 copies to give as Christmas gifts, all to adults). Here are a few samples of Applegate's extraordinary talent (Ivan is narrating): "Somehow I knew that in order to live, I had to let my old life die. But my sister could not let go of our home. It held her like a vine, stretching across the miles, comforting, strangling. We were still in our crate when she looked at me without seeing, and I knew that the vine had finally snapped."; "But many days I forget what I am supposed to be. Am I a human? Am I a gorilla? Humans have so many words, more than they truly need. Still, they have no name for what I am."
I could write for days about what I loved about this book, moments marked with Post-It Notes because I didn't want to forget them; I used a lot of sticky notes reading about Ivan, his friends, and his foe.
About the writing, I could only find one thing about which I wanted to know what the author meant. On page 4, Ivan says to the reader, "I am a great ape, and you are a great ape...". Personally, I believe in an Almighty Creator, and I wrestled with what Applegate intended by this statement. Was she proposing her personal view of evolution or was she suggesting that it is Ivan's view that apes and humans are related because of our common hands and tail-less bottoms? I decided to accept the latter, Ivan's view, because it pacifies any conflict in my mind.
The illustrator, Patricia Castelao, plays a minimal role in the making of this novel. I did not care for her cartoon-like, computer-animated pictures of Ivan, Stella, Ruby, and Bob. These characters reflect humanity, and I felt as if the illustrations should have been more realistic. Perhaps the publisher wanted a child of 8-12 years old to pick this book up and consider reading it. For me, though, the pictures were shallow in comparison to the depth of character in the personalities created by Applegate.
This novel is a must-read for all students; it would be a great loss for a child to graduate childhood without having read this book. Five stars seem so very inadequate at this moment.
Genre: Modern Fantasy
Levels: DRA - 7; Lexile Level - 570L; Interest Level - Grade 3; Approximate Grade Level Equivalent - 3.3; Guided Reading Level - n/a; Accelerated Reader - 3.6.
“Hearing a story through the words of a silverback gorilla, makes it so poignant. Sometimes we need to hear what animals have to say. We need to think about how we treat animals. As I said , Poignant. It is also a story about friendship and promises and dreams and stories remembered. ”Mrs. Porter wrote this review 11 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No