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The One and Only Ivan

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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.

Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.

307 pages, Hardcover

First published January 17, 2012

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Patricia Castelao

16 books15 followers

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5 stars
89,680 (52%)
4 stars
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3 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 17,216 reviews
Profile Image for Rick Riordan.
Author 329 books397k followers
November 8, 2013
I've had The One and Only Ivan on my 'to be read' list for several months, and I'm so glad I read it! A fabulous book for elementary and middle grades (and older), this is probably my favorite animal story since Charlotte's Web -- and I don't make that comparison lightly. Like E.B. White's classic, it is by turns tender, funny, sad and uplifting. It's a quick read -- I'm a slow reader, and I got through it in one day. Ivan the gorilla narrates, and he is a very fine fellow indeed. I loved it. More importantly, I think kids will love it too.
Profile Image for Matt.
295 reviews3 followers
July 25, 2012
A very touching story that will rip out your heart, stomp on it, then pick it back up and cradle it. Cause that's what Silverbacks do.

I appreciate all the things KA managed to work into this book - primarily, our misunderstanding of animals (and mistreat), while showing that we aren't all bad. Also Stella's character was awesome. I'LL MISS YOU STELLAPHANT.

Anyways, READ IT.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,372 reviews9,445 followers
March 9, 2019


OMG!! I finally read this book because of a book challenge and Omg!! This book is fiction but it is based on a real "IVAN". One of the sad things besides Ivan’s life is that I probably already knew all about this but forget things too easy now.

One of the OMG moments is that Ivan was at Zoo Atlanta when I went there years ago!! I need to see if I can find my old pictures of him! I can’t believe I met the Ivan from the book!!

Here is a link telling about Ivan and his life and his death at 50 years old =(

https://www.earthintransition.org/201...

This book was wonderful and sad. I love you Ivan!

Sometimes I press my nose against the glass. My noseprint, like your fingerprint, is the first and last and only. The man wipes the glass and I am gone.


••••••••

Not so long ago, a little boy stood before my glass, tears streaming down his smooth red cheeks. "He must be the loneliest gorilla in the world," he said, clutching his mother’s hand

At times like that, I wished humans could understand me the way I can understand them.

It’s not so bad, I wanted to tell the little boy. With enough time, you can get used to almost anything.


I feel you Ivan!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

MY BLOG
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,568 reviews55.6k followers
January 21, 2022
The One and Only Ivan, Katherine Applegate

The One and Only Ivan is a children's novel written by Katherine Applegate. The book is about a silver-back gorilla named Ivan, who lives in a cage at a mall. The novel is written in first person from the point of view of Ivan, a silver-back gorilla.

The story is placed at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. Ivan, the silver-back gorilla, has lived in captivity at the Big Top Mall for 9,855 days by his own tally. He lives in his domain, and is generally content with his life. He watches television, eats bananas and makes artwork that is sold by the owner. Along with Ivan, Stella the elephant and Bob a stray dog, live at the mall.

Stella is an older elephant who has a chronic injury in one leg and regularly performs in the daily shows. Unlike Ivan, Stella has a long memory, and can remember living other places, like the circus where she was taught many of her tricks. However, Stella would like to live at a zoo, because they have much wider spaces for their domains. Stella believes that zoos are how humans make amends. ...

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «ایوان بی همتای قهرمان»؛ «ایوان منحصر به فرد»؛ «یکی و آن هم ایوان»؛ نویسنده: کاترین اپل گیت؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و هفتم ماه دسامبر سال2015میلادی

عنوان: ایوان بی همتای قهرمان؛ نویسنده: کاترین اپل گیت؛ تصویرگر پاتریشیا کاستلائو؛ مترجم: شهره نورصالحی؛ تهران، پیدایش، سال1392؛ در348ص؛ شابک9786002961242؛ موضوع: داستانهای کودکان از نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده21م

عنوان: ایوان منحصر به فرد؛ نویسنده: کاترین اپل گیت؛ تصویرگر: پاتریشیا کاستلائو؛ مترجم: کیوان عبیدی آشتیانی؛ تهران، افق، سال1392؛ در246ص؛ شابک9789643699833؛

فانتزی شگفت‌ انگیز و تلخ، با عنوان «یکی و آن هم ایوان»؛ کتابی در زمینه ی ادبیات کودک و نوجوان است، نوشتاری از خانم «کاترین اپلگیت»، و مصور سازی شده، توسط خانم «پاتریشیا کاستلو»، داستان درباره ی گوریلی است، که در یک فروشگاه، و در اصل در یک مرکز خرید بزرگ، در قفس زندگی می‌کند، و زندگیش، پس از آشنا شدن با یک بچه فیل، دیگر می‌شود؛ «اپلگیت»، با الهام از مقاله ی یک روزنامه ی مربوط به بیست سال پیش از تاریخ نگارش این قصه، که درباره ی زندگی واقعی گوریلی به نام «ایوان» در یک فروشگاه بود، و سرانجام به باغ وحش سپرده شد، کتاب خویش را نگاشته اند

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 15/10/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 30/10/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Michelle.
147 reviews236 followers
October 10, 2019
In a book called “The One and Only Ivan”, it makes sense that Ivan is at the heart of the story. Not only does his life take center stage, but he's also our one and only narrator. This book is all Ivan, all the time! In case you're having second thoughts about spending time in an ape's brain, worry not. Ivan is as articulate a narrator as they come, and a bit of a poet to boot! He recounts his life with honesty, humility, and major smarts.

A fun fact: there really was a gorilla named Ivan who lived in a mall for a long time after being captured. At a certain point, he actually did move to the zoo where he spent the rest of his days. Real life Ivan’s story matches up with our Ivan’s story, but Katherine Applegate wove her magic in telling the story in the first gorilla (I just can’t help it!) POV and personified Ivan with an entire range of human thoughts, feelings and emotions.

In the entirety of the book, Ivan is always on display but it's not a one-way street. Ivan watches all the people watching him, and his observations about humans are among my greatest delights in the book. It's a lonely life, but he does have a few loyal friends, including a highly opinionated dog, an aging elephant and, eventually, a baby elephant named Ruby who sets his life on an entirely new course.
It is clear that Applegate has written the book for a younger audience, but I think even adults would appreciate it. Some of the growing up elements in it, particularly in Ruby and Ivan's journeys, are appealing because they explore issues of youth, maturity, and overcoming our past, which is something each and every one of us has to do in some way, at some point. The book also takes a good hard look at the human practice of capturing wild animals, digging deep into what this means for, well, the animals. What emerges is a clear sense that animals matter--you know, just like we do! “The One and Only Ivan” doesn't come right out and say that animals can't ever have happy lives in captivity. What it does say though, is that how we treat the animals we keep in captivity really matters. They might not be people, but that doesn't mean they don't deserve comfort and consideration. I bet everyone who has spent time with Ivan strongly agrees.

I couldn’t shower enough accolades for this book. I have already considered it a classic, to be enjoyed by all generations. Who can resist Ivan’s charms? The best part is, he is extraordinary just by being himself--The One and Only Ivan!
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
3,850 reviews34.9k followers
May 16, 2018
Oh my fricken bananas...
I knew ‘nothing’ about this book ...[ a children’s book]...
based on a true story....
Only that it was suggested I read it. Thank you Mischenko and Lisa

I not only read this wonderful children’s book... but the facts about the true story.
Damn... if this story didn’t make me cry!!
Sometimes, life just pisses me off ... the selfish stupid insane things they do!
My anger and sadness buttons were pushed from the true story.

The children’s book is written with dignity-moral consciousness - and some honest happy smiles too!!!! Appropriate for
children’s ears. There is still sadness- but handled with tenderness.
The illustrations compliment the story - wonderful!

Besides Ivan, the silverback gorilla, you’ll meet Bob, the dog, and Ruby, the elephant - other animal friends ...
Enjoy this adventure fantasy story....

I’m not going to share more other than to say ... we all know animals never belong locked up in a mall.
Zoo’s are questionable enough.

If you haven’t read this ( I’m
probably the late banana-peel to party), — love animals at all —take the time to read it.
If you have little people in your life.... this is a great book choice to read and discuss.
Profile Image for Mischenko.
1,012 reviews97 followers
March 20, 2017
Please visit my blog www.readrantrockandroll.com to see this review and learn more about Ivan the gorilla.

I really enjoyed this fictional story of Ivan the gorilla. The story made me think of the real Ivan and his life. What really went on in his head during those 27 years of being locked up at that dept. store?

The story is cute and great for all ages. I'd recommend reading the true story about Ivan and his life before reading this fictional one.

4****
Profile Image for Debbie.
686 reviews427 followers
December 30, 2022
Why I chose to listen to this audiobook:
A fellow colleague was reading this book aloud to her Grade 4 students and asked me to read a chapter to her class when I was subbing for her last year. Being a Newbury winner, I was intrigued and added it to my WTR list.

Praises:
1. I loved that this story is based on an actual captive gorilla named Ivan who lived at Zoo Atlanta;
2. author Katherine Applegate successfully personified her animal characters so well that I connected with their endearing qualities, - felt their joy and their pain;
3. this story reminded me of when our provincial capital, Edmonton, opened one of the world's largest malls (West Edmonton Mall) in the early 1980s, and had various animal enclosures throughout the building. Like this story, public discomfort eventually moved these animals to more appropriate settings, bringing me to this quote, "A good zoo is how humans make amends."; and,
4. I appreciated the inclusion of Ivan's "Glossary".

Overall Thoughts:
A heartfelt story for young and old alike, reminding us of what animals really want and need.

Recommendation?
If scenes of animal cruelty really disturb you, then you many wish to skip this read; however, if learning about the realities of captive animals is important to you, then be sure to have a box of tissues nearby!
Profile Image for Mischenko.
1,012 reviews97 followers
July 23, 2020
I first learned of Ivan the gorilla years ago after reading Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla with my kids. His story captivated all of us, and we wanted to learn more about his life. We grabbed every book and documentary we could find. After learning about Ivan, I wondered about his feelings. What did Ivan think about? How did Ivan feel about his owners and his surroundings? At times he seemed happy, but was he? Ivan’s story is a heartbreaking reminder of how humans can be so cruel to animals, even when they don’t deliberately intend to. After his first few years of life living with his owners, he was then isolated in an unhealthy environment for 27 years before he was finally transferred to a zoo in Atlanta, Georgia.

When Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan became available, I went straight out to buy a copy for our home library. I’ve now read this book twice, and my kids devoured it within two sittings. It’s such a wonderful yet poignant story. This story is fiction but does share some truthfulness about Ivan as well. The entire book is narrated by Ivan, and what I loved most about the book is hearing the inner voices of these animals. If only this could be true in real life—to hear their thoughts and truly pay attention to their needs. The question is: how much of a difference would it make?

Overall, this story is powerful, thought-provoking, and easily provokes discussions on equality, empathy, animal cruelty, and rights. I also can also recommend the audio narrated by Adam Grupper, which we used along with the physical books. We love this and will be reading The One and Only Bob next.

5*****
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
3,946 reviews2,171 followers
October 15, 2022
This is so beautiful!!!!

Winner of the John Newberry Medal which is partly fictionalized, this children's book tells the story of Ivan, a real gorilla who later lived at Zoo Atlanta, before he was rescued and had to struggle for 27 years caged in a circus themed mall in Washington state.

One of the most well-written books, short and captivating; emotional and hard-hitting; inspirational and provokes you to think about the lives of other beings more than our idea of fun and entertainment at the cost of their discomfort and abuse, the story tells the story of the animals kept in poor conditions for the sake of making money and mere entertainment.

Ivan, the gorilla, for his so called talent of painting which the owner Mack sells; Stella, the neglected circus trained elephant with an infected, hurting foot; Bob, the street dog. And later on, Ruby, a baby elephant to work for the circus.

One of my most favourite child characters ever, Julia, the daughter of the cleaner, keeps Ivan company and actually does something big with the help of her father towards the end that makes this book so beautiful and memorable!

The book deals with animal neglect and abuse; unexpected friendships and found family; death and grief.

The ending is so damn satisfying. I cried, I laughed, I found love and hope all over again. The writing is so good! The characters blended well. They are outstanding. A must read✨
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
903 reviews13.7k followers
December 20, 2015
This book is so real. It's almost too deep for a children's book. Even though it's about talking animals and Ivan's complexity of thought could be a little misleading, this book touches on so many great themes both superficial toward children, but also in general about humanity, if you're mature enough to understand it. This book was cute, sad, and something very new to me. I adored it and it is such a fast read that I highly recommend it!
Profile Image for Michael Finocchiaro.
Author 3 books5,417 followers
February 15, 2020
My daughter and I cried and cried while reading this wonderful story of Ivan the Silverback, his dog friend Bob and his elephant friend Ruby. It is funny and clever and heartwarming about loyalty, love and friendship. Perfect for a few nights of bedtime stories. No wonder it won a Newberry Medal!
Profile Image for Sherry.
211 reviews3 followers
April 3, 2012
Just when I think I'm too old, too mature, too hard-hearted, too sophisticated, too busy, or too "something" to allow a children's book to make me cry, along comes a story like this one.

Don't have enough of the right words to describe it...I definitely haven't mastered the craft of writing the way Ms. Applegate has. And the way she does it, with the sparest of prose, is impressive.

To me, "good" writing makes the reader view something with a fresh perspective, as if (s)he has never, ever experienced it before. Or, as if (s)he is suddenly living inside another's body, thinking thoughts that only the character could think, seeing the world as only that character would.

So, for the past couple of hours, I have lived life as a captive silverback gorilla in a filthy roadside circus. It was...poignant. Who knew. Never thought about being a gorilla before.

I can't WAIT to get a set of these and share this story with kids, both to showcase the fine writing AND for the remarkable lessons on friendship, humane treatment of animals, and the unexpected.
Profile Image for Paul  Hankins.
770 reviews281 followers
June 28, 2012
Mr. Hankins is putting his readers on THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN for the beginning of 2012's reading season.

Think of all of the good stuff you loved about THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN and TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE and, instead of sitting with Enzo in a cozy living room watching the discovery channel or with Morrie in a study littered with books and notes, you'll be sitting in a cage with Ivan, "the Ape at Exit 8," a thoughtful gorilla tasked with one of the most difficult callings ever. . .caring for a new cast member in a broken down circus, a baby elephant.

Appelgate's prose is beautiful, and Ivan, her narrator, like Enzo, gets to saying some things about being "human" that we all need to hear. . .a lovely, lovely book that will prompt discussions about what it means to live within one's intended calling even when that calling is not made manifest in the day-to-day doings. The book could also foster conversations about what it means to dig deep for that one latent gift that is just waiting for us to tap into it for the greater good--not only of ourselves, but for those around us.

Mr. Hankins is coming out early to predict big things for Katherine Appelgate's THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN in 2012. I predict that this will become an instant classic that readers will return to again and again, sharing it with every friend they can.
Profile Image for Brina.
876 reviews4 followers
February 4, 2016
I have not read a middle grade children's book in a long time, and I am glad I picked up Ivan for my kids. Ivan is the fictionalized tale of Ivan the lowland gorilla who lived in wretched conditions in a shopping mall for 27 years and then later moved to the Atlanta zoo. Kristina Applegate does a wonderful job giving Ivan and his friends their inner voices as they contemplate life in captivity and what it means to be a good or a bad human. I think this book is appropriate for elementary aged children. They will probably find both the animal and human characters enjoyable as they root for Ivan and his friends to get out of their cages and into the zoo. I even recommend it to adults who are looking for an easy read and I am looking forward to reading more of Applegate's work.
Profile Image for Carmen.
2,048 reviews1,802 followers
March 29, 2016
"Everyone has parents," Bob explains. "It's unavoidable."

I started out this review with a funny quote - but this is NOT a funny book. It's one of those emotionally manipulative sad books about animals. A seven-year-old girl personally recommended this to me. Little kids LOVE emotionally manipulative sad books about animals. Charlotte's Web, Black Beauty, Old Yeller, Shiloh, Where the Red Fern Grows, The Cat Who Went to Heaven etc. etc. You can add this book to the list.

This is based (loosely) on a true story. Ivan is a gorilla who is kidnapped along with his sister in Africa when he was a baby. His parents were murdered. Both he and his sister were shipped to the U.S., but his sister died in transit.

Now Ivan lives in a cage in the mall, eking out his solitary and depressing existence. But at least he has company. An old wise elephant named Stella, who was bought from a circus, and a stray chihuahua-mix called Bob, who is "homeless by choice" but sleeps on Ivan's expansive stomach every night.

And even though you may be surprised, Ivan has a human friend, too - Julia, a 10 or 11-year-old who is the daughter of the night janitor. She sneaks Ivan drawing supplies - he is a proud artist, and loves creating pictures that are framed and sold in the gift shop for $25.

But then one night Stella hears a noise. She knows it is the sound of a baby elephant in despair. The mall is going to get a new attraction, and she's going to change everything...

...

If you are sensitive to animal cruelty, do NOT read this book unless you want to cry. The book has a (relatively) happy ending, but tons of bad things happen along the way - to gorillas, elephants, and dogs.

I liked the book, I think it was well-written and perfect for children. Of course, as an adult you are going to have more of a critical eye - some parts really stretch credibility, the author is blatantly tearjerking you - but none of this will even occur to a child reader.

The book is, of course, doing good work by helping children sympathize with animals and raising awareness about animal cruelty and human responsibility to treat animals with compassion.

The book is saved from being a total sapfest mainly because Bob the dog is funny sometimes.

The book has little illustrations occasionally.

This book is very reminiscent of Charlotte's Web in more than one way. That's not a criticism, exactly, but you'd have to be blind not to notice the glaring similarities. That being said, Ivan stands on it's own two feet, I didn't feel like the author was using White as a crutch.

Another thing that is good is the book's treatment of "villains." The "villain" in this book (barring the unseen and unheard humans of the past who slaughtered elephants, gorillas, and dogs respectively) would be the mall's owner, Mack. Especially when he takes to But the book is careful to even out Mack's personality. He's not some sinister evil man who wakes up every day longing to cause animals pain. Instead, we see that he is tired, poor, depressed, and struggling to keep his mall in business. He even I feel like this is a very good thing. As much as I can "love to hate" cackling villains like Count Olaf and Jiggy Nye, it's refreshing to see a more human and adult face on a villain once in a while.

Appropriate for ages 7-10. Again, I feel people (who tend to say 9-12) are underestimating kids. Obviously 7-year-olds love it. Not only did a seven-year-old recommend this to me, but her school is making this into the school play next year. Just my two cents. I would go as young as seven on this. Or even an advanced six.
Profile Image for *TANYA*.
1,002 reviews281 followers
December 30, 2017
A re-read and yup it’s still a Wow!!! What a wonderful story!!! I picked this out of the blue I didn't realize it was a "kids" book but it didn't feel like it. I loved it!!! This book is for everyone.
Profile Image for [S] Bibliophage.
950 reviews851 followers
January 3, 2019
I came across this when I was checking out last year about the upcoming Disney movies. Based on the synopsis, it was based on the award-winning children's book written by Katherine Applegate and famous actors will be the voice of the characters in the story. I scheduled to read this on the very first day of 2019 and I was really delighted that I made this my first read of the year.

I didn't expect that this was quite good and hopefully the movie adaptation will be as great just like the book. I know that Ivan's story will make an impact on anyone who will either read this or those who will go watch the film because of how heartwarming and it is an eye-opener to wildlife animal preservation.

This is a light read and I'm pretty excited to see this in the big screen; I'll just need to be prepared once the sad parts are shown because I was teary-eyed when I've read those in the book. I want a lot of people to be aware to take care and be the voice of all animals, either domesticated or wildlife, hence, I highly recommend this to everyone.
Profile Image for Calista.
3,792 reviews31.2k followers
May 18, 2018
Touching. This is about possibility and about the will. Having the will to help someone else, going into yourself and letting your intuition and higher self find a way to keep a promise and help someone that is helpless. Such big themes in this story and such big ideas. I think this could be a book a spiritual group does a study on. Great stuff in this book.

Ivan is a silverback gorilla that is held in a side show with only a few animals. His best friend is a dog, Bob, and an elephant Stella. A young elephant, Ruby, is brought into the mix. Stella wants to save the pain of captivity for Ruby and wants to send her to the Zoo.

Also, Ivan is an artist and he enjoys painting, eating the paint and paper and painting some more. Art is a spiritual connection in this story. Art gives Ivan a voice and he also helps keep the place afloat as the owner sells his paintings.

What I love about the story is Ivan's voice. It is totally believable that this is the voice and thought of a gorilla. It's spot on perfection. Stella's voice is great and Bob is hilarious. I love Bob. I thought that someone was actually reading sign language from a gorilla and relating the story for us at first it was so convincing. I have seen a special on TV where they taught a gorilla sign language and the communication was amazing. They would ask the gorilla complex questions that required reasoning and the gorilla gave some great and insightful answer. They told her about global warming and the gorilla was very sad about this and couldn't understand why people would continue to hurt the world. It was great and it reminded me of Ivan's voice.

There is pain and the animals tell their stories of being afraid and captured. It's about the lose of freedom and hope. There is death and there is wonder in this story.

This is the reason I love middle grade so much. It can stand up to any Young adult or adult work of fiction. It is fantastic and so well done. It is straight forward and simple and it has the strong guiding voice of Katherine Applegate. She is a wonder and I can't wait to read more of her works.
Profile Image for Trudi.
615 reviews1,392 followers
March 14, 2013
I like colorful tales with black beginnings and stormy middles and cloudless blue-sky endings. But any story will do. ~The One and Only Ivan

::sniff:: What's that in my eye, this watery, salty substance? Crying? No. I'm not crying. I'm too old and cynical to cry. My tear ducts have long dried up. Really.

::sniff::

Oh for godsake, will someone hand me a tissue!

This is a sweet, adorable story that will tug at your heart-strings in the most uplifting way. It is a beautiful, tender tale of friendship, acceptance and hope. The perfect antidote for the overworked, stressed out grinch in all of us. Read it!
Profile Image for Kyoko SWords.
189 reviews1,480 followers
April 2, 2016
Este fue el último libro que leí en marzo, pero decidí esperar unos días para no escribir la reseña en "caliente".
Esta es una novela sobrecogedora, esperanzadora pero muy cruel. Desde la voz de Iván, este gorila inteligente y luchador, encontramos nuevamente a la humanidad en su mejor y peor versión. Las contradicciones del ser humano cuando la palabra humanidad le queda grande, son muchas y muy difíciles de reconocer. Una novela para reflexionar sobre quién es realmente la bestia no pensante: los animales que actúan por instinto, o los humanos que predeterminadamente dañan sólo por dañar...
Los animales viven, nosotros invadimos. Y la voz de un gorila macho que se extingue sólo nos recuerda lo tóxica que es nuestra especie, incluso con nuestros primos lejanos.
Pd: lloré con una frase de este libro. Con una simple frase.
No olviden que la historia de Iván está basada en hechos reales.
5 de 5 estrellas y altamente recomendada para TODA la humanidad.
Profile Image for SheLovesThePages.
322 reviews96 followers
March 4, 2021
•Rating•
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
All of us rated The Only and Only Ivan 5 stars!

I read this book with my son, Finn (8 years old) and my daughter, Ellie (7 years old). I did most of the reading. Sometimes they would pick a character and read their lines. There was some vocabulary I had to explain. For kids to read this alone, I would say 3rd/4th grade and up.

•Reviews•
I loved the overall message of this book. It is a book that has you really connect with each of the characters. The characters are well balanced. No one is all "good" and no one is all "bad". The connections we made when reading this were fantastic. It was well paced and gave us all time to reflect and make predictions.

Ellie's thoughts: I was sad and happy. He had to leave but he was going to miss all his friends. I liked Ruby, the baby elephant.

Finn's thoughts: I liked the book because I like gorillas sometimes. I liked Bob because he's a dog and I love dogs.
Profile Image for Shannon A.
672 reviews531 followers
May 15, 2016
My goodness! This book is gorgeous and so inspirational! It's based on a true story and I just got all choked up at the end! Love this sweet story <3
Profile Image for Stella.
475 reviews205 followers
May 26, 2012
Edit: My friend Matt recently wrote a review for this book and it's shorter and much nicer than mine so you should read his instead of mine. Matt's review is here.

So my childhood came for a visit last weekend. By that, I mean this book came into my life last weekend. Big fonts and equally majestic illustrations reminded me of being a kid again. Yet, this book goes beyond a children's book. Everyone should read it because it conveys a story many other books lack.

I, of course, expected nothing less from K. A. Applegate. She is the co-author of Animorphs and married to author Michael Grant? I think that is a deadly combination.

The book is written in poetic "chapters" that reminded me of Ellen Hopkin's works. Here is a sample:

"Anger is precious. A silverback uses anger to maintain order and warns his troop of danger. When my father beats his chest, it was to say, Beware, listen, I am in charge. I am angry to protect you, because that is what I was born to do."

Here is my domain, there is no one to protect."


There were many passages like this throughout the book that made me felt an assortment of emotions. I felt Ivan's sadness and loneliness. His isolation from his kind and the naivety his human caretakers his given him.

This book is a MUST READ for the old, young, young-at-heart, happy, sad, emotionless, and everyone in between. I cannot begin to put into words how I feel about this book. The above was an attempt but I think I did a pretty crappy job. Just read it, guys.

P.S.: I love how there was a character named Stella in there. :') Bravo, Ms. Applegate.
Profile Image for Darla.
3,150 reviews446 followers
February 11, 2019
This title has been popping up in other middle grade books that I have read lately, so I moved it up on my TBR list and chose the audiobook. The narrator does a fabulous job with all the voices. My favorite had to be Bob the stray dog. The book would make a wonderful read aloud in a classroom. The kids will root for Ivan and for Ruby.

Profile Image for Andrea Izquierdo.
Author 13 books10.9k followers
June 26, 2015
No tengo palabras para describir este libro. 5/5 y directo a mis favoritos.
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,687 reviews14k followers
July 19, 2015
Absolutely adorable, wise, sad and so many other adjectives all meaning very good. The friendships and inner voices of these animals were amazing. I think that some of the children would not understand but reading this as an adult they show such irony and wisdom. Hoping to read this to my grandchildren when they come in a couple of weeks.
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