The One and Only Ivan

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Harper Collins, Jan 17, 2012 - Juvenile Fiction - 336 pages
52 Reviews

Winner of the 2013 Newbery Medal and a #1 New York Times bestseller, this stirring and unforgettable novel from renowned author Katherine Applegate celebrates the transformative power of unexpected friendships. Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this illustrated novel is told from the point-of-view of Ivan himself.

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.

The One and Only Ivan was hailed as a best book of the year by Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Amazon, demonstrating it is a true classic in the making. In the tradition of timeless stories like Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little, Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan's unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope. An author's note depicts the differences between the fictional story and true events.

Supports the Common Core State Standards


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User Review  - msmarymac - LibraryThing

This is a sweet story about a gorilla that lives out his life in captivity but is oblivious to his situation. He doesn't remember much of his past until a round of story telling brings it back to him ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - joeydag - LibraryThing

A very well told story told from Ivan's point of view. Ivan is a Silverback Gorilla and he lives in a cage in a mall. This story has some very dark moments, a major character dies, parents die, a ... Read full review

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About the author (2012)

Katherine Applegate's many books include the Roscoe Riley Rules chapter book series, the picture book The Buffalo Storm, and the award-winning novel Home of the Brave. With her husband, Michael Grant, she wrote the hugely popular series Animorphs, which has sold more than 35 million copies worldwide.

Katherine was inspired to write The One and Only Ivan after reading about the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, the Shopping Mall Gorilla. The real Ivan lived alone in a tiny cage for twenty-seven years at a shopping mall before being moved to Zoo Atlanta after a public outcry. He was a beloved celebrity at the zoo, which houses the nation's largest collection of western lowland gorillas. Ivan was well known for his paintings, which he "signed" with a thumbprint.

Katherine lives in California with her husband and two children.

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