Children · Katherine Applegate · Stand Alone

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate


Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all. Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line. Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better (


ivanThe One and Only Ivan is one of the best children’s books I have read! I can’t even begin to explain how much I loved this book, and how everyone should read it. I was engrossed in the book from the very first page.


The story is funny, sad, happy, hopeful, heartwarming, and everything else you can imagine. I never really thought about reading from the point-of-view of a Silverback! It was quite interesting and gives you an idea about how the animals at the circus and other places may feel. At first I wasn’t sure about the writing and organization of the book, but after a few minutes of reading I really liked how it was done. Almost every page is a separate chapter, straight to the point, and is in the first person point of view of Ivan. It doesn’t disrupt from the flow of the novel at all. I really enjoyed how this was done. I also liked the illustrations and thought they added a little to the story. It was just really simple, short, and easy to read.


I adored the characters! They all have their own unique personalities and many people can probably relate to them, especially Ivan or Julia. All of the characters are well developed and memorable, and I don’t think you will be able to pick a favorite because they are all amazing (the animals anyway). I can’t decide who my favorite is, but Bob is pretty funny! As I was reading I kept wanting to comfort Rudy and break Stella and Ivan out of their cage. It was so horrible reading about their lives at the mall. I just wanted to do something about it.

Overall Thoughts

This would be a great book to read if you love animals, fantasy, or have children. I can’t wait to read this to my son when he is older. The short chapters make it easy to read to your child at night because there are plenty of places to choose when to stop for the night. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and you shouldn’t waste any more time reading anything else about this book. Just read it. Trust me! It’s great and it even won the Newbery Medal!

My rating: 5/5 stars!


View this book on Amazon and Goodreads!

Book Website where you can find information about the book, author, and the real Ivan!

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (

The One and Only Ivan: An Animal Narrative of Friendship and Hope (

Newbery Winner: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (

Book Review: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (

“The One and Only Ivan” To Be Made Into Movie By Disney (

“Quick Thoughts: The One and Only Ivan (

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4 thoughts on “The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

  1. i was always tempted to buy this book but i always put it aside bec. kept reminding myself that i still have lots of books that i’ve bought and have never been read yet. Maybe i would add this on my stock 🙂


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