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

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,994 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 Library Binding 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 Library Binding 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 (1,994 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,465,035 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 Verified Purchase
This is probably one of the hardest reviews I have written yet. On one hand I did like it. On the other I really did not.

I am not sure who wrote the overview above but they obviously did not read the same book I did. I found very little humor in this book. The funniest part was when Ivan painted with chocolate frosting on the fridge. The use of the poignancy however is very accurate.

This book won the Newbery Award. This is awarded to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

I can’t say that I agree. I personally found 80% of this book depressing and cried through parts of it. Normally, I would say that is the sign of a great book but in this case I disagree. This has a reading level of 3.6 (3rd grade 6 month). I am not sure I would let my 6th grader read this. Ok, I would but I would warn her beforehand. Actually, she walked in while I was reading at one point and asked why I was crying. I would not want my children crying themselves to sleep at night over a book. This book is like a Hemingway novel for children. I am certainly not saying that books need to always be happy. I understand life is not always sunny. But this story went overboard trying to make the reader feel empathy for not only the animals but the people in the book. EVERYONE had a sad back story. Divorce, sickness, death, lack of money, being kidnapped, homelessness and abuse are just a few examples.

This book did have a nice happy ending but the arrival to that point was just too emotionally exhausting for me. I felt it was bit unrealistic (and that is coming from a person who loves unrealistic books). That part just didn't fit with the rest of the story in my opinion.
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