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One and Only Ivan Paperback – International Edition, February 1, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,918 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4–6—Budding fans and die-hard Ivanites alike will appreciate this sumptuous, oversize edition of Applegate's spare yet resonant Newbery Award—winning work, inspired by actual events, about a gorilla put on display at a mall and his journey to freedom. Castelao's gentle spot-art illustrations, originally printed in black-and-white, are presented in full color, bringing to life with tenderness Ivan; his friends Stella, Ruby, and Bob; and the artwork Ivan creates, which eventually casts a spotlight on his plight. Bonus materials add appeal and context: Applegate's Newbery acceptance speech; a copy of the real Ivan's "autograph" (fingerprint); a letter from Jodi Carrigan, the zookeeper who helped care for Ivan at Zoo Atlanta (where he lived after leaving the mall); and sketches and illustrations that were considered for the original edition.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“Will capture readers’ hearts and never let go. A must have.” (School Library Journal (starred review))

“Animal-loving youngsters and their adults will find plenty of food for thought in Ivan’s extraordinary story.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review))

“Exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“Discover an animal hero that will take his place with other courageous and beloved animals such as Babe, Mrs. Frisby, Charlotte and Wilbur. Adults reading this aloud with children will find it just as rewarding.” (Shelf Awareness)

“Important.” (The Horn Book)

“The One and Only Ivan will break your heart—and then, against all odds, mend it again. In cheering for Ivan and his friends, we cheer for our own humanity and our own possibilities. Read this.” (Gary D. Schmidt, Newbery Honor author of The Wednesday Wars)

“A beautifully written, intelligent and brave book. You will never look at the relationship of humans and animals in the same way again. Quite simply, this story is life changing.” (Patricia MacLachlan, Newbery Medal-winning author of Sarah, Plain and Tall)

“Katherine Applegate’s beautiful, life-affirming story will soar directly from Ivan’s heart into your own. Read it out loud. Read it alone. Read it.” (Kathi Appelt, Newbery Honor author of The Underneath) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books; First Printing edition (February 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780007455331
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007455331
  • ASIN: 000745533X
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,918 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,209,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jared Castle VINE VOICE on February 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Parents on the qui vive for deeper stories to share with their children need look no further than Katherine Applegate's tale, "The One and Only Ivan", written from the perspective of a Silverback gorilla living in a shopping mall.

Too many children are sheltered from animals, left to draw their experiences from animated movies like Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and Alvin and the Chipmunks. What's missing from those stories? Humanity and tenderness; qualities you will find in abundance in this book.

Applegate's story should resonate with animal lovers, too. The gorilla lives a simple, sad life with only a couple friends, including Bob, a stray dog, and Stella, an aging elephant. The years of living behind a glass wall at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade has numbed Ivan to his own misery. He is barely self-aware of his suffering until the arrival of a baby elephant named Ruby arouses emotions long dormant in Ivan.

I read the book to my sons as a bedtime story. The first-person narrative hooked them after only a few pages. The chapters are short, which makes it easy to reach a stopping point each night. A word of caution, only the cold-hearted will finish this book without feeling a pang or shedding a tear. My sons' enthusiasm has me considering The Yearling, a Pulitzer Prize winning classic, for our next bedtime book.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was hesitant to chose this book thinking an animal book would be too silly or something . . . but Applegate's Home of the Brave is one of my favorite books ever so I decided to take a chance. And I am SO GLAD I DID. This book was wonderful--heartbreakingly wonderful. I just loved every character--both animal and human. Ivan the artistic gorilla, Stella the stoic mother elephant, Bob the tough on the outside but not so tough on the inside dog, and of course Ruby the baby elephant who just wants to be loved. And the humans: George the sympathetic caretaker and his daughter Julie, a bit like Fern in Charlotte's web because she can almost understand Ivan--or at least understand his art. Every character was real--even Mack the owner of the menagerie, though we hate what he's doing, there is more too him than just badness. The situation was just so sad but so well done--the minute I finished the book, I immediately passed it on to my daughter . . . maybe not the best idea to give it to her at bedtime though because I could not get her to turn out her light, she was so immediately drawn into the book. I highly recommend this moving book which teaches compassion towards animals.
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Format: Hardcover
I almost missed the joy of reading The One and Only Ivan because I thought that it was only for young readers, ages 8 to 12. Not so, this 54 year-old loved this book. The story was inspired by Ivan, a silver back gorilla who was raised by humans, and then sold when he became too large to keep in a home. For 27 years he lived in a cage in a shopping mall until public pressure ultimately won him a home among his own kind in a zoo. But this not a story of despair, it is about love and the power of one individual to make monumental changes. Katherine Applegate's character Ivan was resigned to his sad fate, whiling away his days thinking about art and painting pictures on scraps of paper. That is until a baby elephant named Ruby arrives. He soon realizes he must do something to save her from a lifetime in captivity. Using art as his only tool, he creates a new and better reality for her, and unwittingly for himself too. Readers of any age will enjoy this tale and have much to learn from Ivan.
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Format: Hardcover
"People call me the Freeway Gorilla. The Ape at Exit 8. The One and Only Ivan, Mighty Silverback. The names are mine, but they're not me. I am Ivan, just Ivan, only Ivan."

As evidenced by the above paragraph on the 2nd page, The One and Only Ivan is a lovely book by Katherine Applegate. I was unexpectedly and completely drawn right into this gorilla's thoughts and life. I felt for the gorilla, but I also immediately thought of any sort of name-calling or assumptions that cause people to doubt themselves -- be that person me or an 8-year-old who just got glasses.

Ivan is a gorilla who has lived in a weird sort of mall circus for 27 years. His owner isn't unkind to him, but he's lonely. And without seeming too dark, we hear about Ivan's loneliness and survival, recounted with Applegate's sparse yet beautiful prose (or is it a free-verse poem?). He's lonely for more of his kind and the life a gorilla is meant to have, but his life is not awful. He has Stella and Ruby the elephants in the area next to him, and Bob the stray dog who sneaks into the hole at the bottom of Ivan's glass enclosure to snuggle up and sleep on Ivan's stomach.

Julia, the janitor's daughter, also uses that hole. She slips Ivan paper and crayons and markers and paint. They are both artists, so they understand each other.

Ivan is a selfless hero, as he seeks to make baby elephant Ruby's life better and get her out there.

In spite of the fact that the story is from the point of view of an animal, it reads like realistic fiction. The humans and animals don't talk to each other, but Ivan narrates the story, and the animals communicate with each other.

I've given this 5 stars because it's an emotionally resonant novel that speaks to children.
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