Kim's Reviews > The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
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Apr 03, 12

bookshelves: children-s-literature, fiction, young-adult-fiction
Read in March, 2012

This story of Ivan, a silverback gorilla who has lived in captivity since he was captured as a baby, is loosely based on the true story of another Ivan who now resides in Zoo Atlanta. The Ivan of the story is also a roadside attraction in a shopping mall, and is fairly content with his life until a young elephant named Ruby is brought in to the attraction. Ivan makes a promise to his friend Stella, an older elephant who attempts to care for Ruby when she arrives, but who ultimately succumbs to an infection and dies. Determined to help Ruby escape this life of captivity, Ivan turns to his art. He is aided by the daughter of the groundskeeper, and it is ultimately her ability to see his message in his artwork that brings Ivan the public attention that he needs to get himself and Ruby removed from their shopping mall cages and relocated to a more spacious and animal-friendly zoo. The story and illustrations are sweet and engaging, and although the extent to which Ivan's artwork brings about his rescue is a little farfetched, children will enjoy suspending their disbelief as they listen to Ivan tell his tale.
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