- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 3 hours and 46 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: HarperAudio
- Audible.com Release Date: March 14, 2013
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00BJ85XP4
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The One and Only Ivan Audiobook – Unabridged
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A copy of the author’s Newbery Medal acceptance speech is at the back of my copy of The One and Only Ivan. In it, the author says,” We live in a world where children are bullied into despair and even suicide; where armed guards in a school hallway are considered desirable; where libraries are padlocked because of budget cuts; where breakfast and backpacks, for too many children are unaffordable luxuries.”
“What makes children better than the rest of us is that they are buoyant, unrepentant optimists.”
As a writer, reader, and lover of words, I make it a habit to ‘stop time’ whenever I come across sparkling phrases that deserve homage. A ‘stop time’ is where we stop whatever we are doing to read out loud and to listen; we listen to both the author’s words and to what made that phrase so meaningful to the reader.
Although my son and I read the same book, our reactions to it were as different as a carefree stroll through the park and being caught in a traffic snarl in the city at rush hour. Where my son delighted in the animal conversations, I sobbed.
Pixar uses humor with double meaning brilliantly in their storytelling. Katherine Applegate uses the same technique, but in a more realistic vein.
I sobbed because the adult world my son will live in doesn’t have easy answers. It isn’t colorful, silly, and happy all the time. The innocence of his childhood is beginning to seep away.
While Ivan and Ruby soothe each other and tell stories to help them sleep, the author communicates the ache of loneliness, coping skills, feeling boxed in, and the power that is found when helping a friend…or your own child.
The first ‘stop time’ that my son called happened when Ivan makes an impossible promise to Ruby, the baby elephant.
I’ve been waiting and watching for this moment. A maturity level that notices deeper concepts. An opportunity to share family ideals and values. An easing into the world of adulthood – or at least into the turbulent teens.
“Children know all about sadness,” comments Applegate in her speech. “We can’t hide it from them. We can only teach them how to cope with its inevitably and to harness their imaginations in search for joy and wonder.”
In addition, I am a 5th grade teacher. In my school, we have daily Book Clubs. I have been reading The One and Only Ivan with my students for 3 years and their reactions are exactly like my daughter's. Katherine Applegate is an amazing author! I love how Ivan, the gorilla, is the narrator; this gives the reader a great inside look into his thoughts and feelings. You easily fall in love with each of the characters and build compassion for each one. I highly recommend this book for any elementary student!
It was somewhat of a struggle how to rate this. For me, it was 3.5-4 stars. A simple story, but beautiful, and I loved the characterizations. Bob the dog was an especial favorite: how intelligent he was, yet purposefully nonchalant about it, and how he pretended to be rough and uncaring but utterly failed. That's a lot for an author to show about a character that doesn't have that many lines and isn't really part of the action, and also happens to be a dog. Back to the point, though, as a read-aloud to 6-10 year old, I would give it five stars, so I went for the middle and gave it four.
I also enjoyed the illustrations, and went on to look up the paintings of the real Ivan (who just died in August of this year, by the way, at the Atlanta Zoo!). The ones available through Google images are much more abstract than what is portrayed in this book, but have a lovely sense of composition :)
In any case, an all around good read. It's a children's book that is actually intended for children (unlike the current spate of YA fantasy that is bought by more As than YAs), though it can be enjoyed by adults as well.