Lindsey's Reviews > The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
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Mar 20, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: esl, illustrations, read-alouds, ya-fiction, has-a-glossary, esl-2
Read from May 20 to June 05, 2012

This story is based on a true one. Applegate's inspiration now lives in the Atlanta zoo and had a similar background to Ivan.

Ivan, or "Mud", lives in a cage in a strip mall. Taken from his jungle and family as a baby, he has very few memories of life as a gorilla. He was raised by Mack, who treated him more like a human baby than a gorilla. Once Ivan got to be too messy and too big to live in the house, he went into the glass cage. There, he made friends with Stella (an elephant), Bob (stray dog), Ruby (the new baby elephant), George (the janitor), and Julie (George's elementary school aged daughter). With some help from Julia, Ivan gets art supplies and becomes the artist he always felt he was meant to be. Through art and Julia, Ivan changes his destiny and those that matter most to him.

The chapters are short and would be perfect for daily read alouds for intermediate ELLs. The illustrations are also nice. They don't appear every chapter, but when they do, they clearly represent what is happening in the text.
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