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The One and Only Ivan

(The One and Only Ivan #1)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  165,271 ratings  ·  16,804 reviews
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.
Hardcover, 307 pages
Published January 17th 2012 by HarperCollins
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Sunny Yes I can read this book, it's very fun and exciting too. When I read this book it's like I was in the story too!! …moreYes I can read this book, it's very fun and exciting too. When I read this book it's like I was in the story too!! (less)
Saanvi Yes, it is beautifully written and I think it suits any age. I got really attached to Ivan and every character in the book and I think you would enjoy…moreYes, it is beautifully written and I think it suits any age. I got really attached to Ivan and every character in the book and I think you would enjoy the plot.(less)
Wonder by R.J. PalacioThe One and Only Ivan by Katherine ApplegateThe Fault in Our Stars by John GreenLiar & Spy by Rebecca SteadThe Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
Newbery 2013
128 books — 1,333 voters
The Giver by Lois LowryHoles by Louis SacharA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'EngleNumber the Stars by Lois LowryBridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
The Most Deserving Newbery
103 books — 2,983 voters

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Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  165,271 ratings  ·  16,804 reviews

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Rick Riordan
Nov 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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. Mo ...more
Apr 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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.
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

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 year
Ahmad Sharabiani
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 gene
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 li
Elyse  Walters
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, fiction
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 cons
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Please visit my blog 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.

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 c ...more
Reading_ Tamishly
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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 cos
Whitney Atkinson
Dec 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-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! ...more
Apr 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: middle and elementary students
Recommended to Sherry by: Bluebonnet selection
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 experie
Michael Finocchiaro
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!
Paul  Hankins
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
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids
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 chi ...more
"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
Oct 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-it, all-time-fav
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. ...more
[Shai] Bibliophage
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
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 y
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.


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,
Feb 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
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.

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 on
Shannon (kitchandpages)
Oct 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Mar 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Stella by: Michael Grant
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 les
Lindsey Rey
Apr 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade, 2015
This was the absolute CUTEST!!!!!
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

Jun 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, childrens
This award-winning middle grade story is based in truth. The structure is different with it's very short chapters/thoughts each presented with a heading/title. This fascinating approach lends a believable voice to our wise gorilla narrator, who speaks simply but understands deeply. The structure, however, did not make for a great listening experience. Long pauses between each "chapter" coupled with the many "chapter titles" made for an odd and disjointed listening experience. Though the reader v ...more
Diane S ☔
Feb 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
All right, the topic is Famous Ape Books of Children's Literature. And . . . go. Care to name any? Well there's Curious George, of course (often mistakenly called a monkey in spite of his lack of tail). He's the most famous but after that it gets harder. Eva by Peter Dickinson might count (also a chimp). Or a book like Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby (chimp). Gorillas appear to be much rarer, which is funny when you consider it. I would think an animal as big and impressive as a gorilla would be a ...more
Literary Ames
Apr 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone aged 12+
Recommended to Literary Ames by: Shannon
Chicken soup for the soul. The Grinch himself would be hard-pressed not to empathise with Ivan's story. With a gorgeous cover and a heartbreaking memoir of a lonely, caged gorilla living among other mistreated "circus" animals, delivered via emotionally-charged and insightful writing, Ms. Applegate forced tears from this stoic, 25-year-old pessimist.


I am Ivan. I am a gorilla.

It's not as easy as it looks.

People call me the Freeway Gorilla. The Ape at Exit 8. The One and Only Ivan, Mighty S
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
This is a great book about wild animals being forced to live in bad conditions by ignorant humans. Ivan is based on a real Gorilla, and the fictional story Applegate wove pulled a bit on my heartstrings. I love Stella. It's a very, very sweet story. I can definitely see why people love this one so much!

I borrowed the audiobook from my library using an app, but then I found out there was illustrastions and felt like I was missing out. There are some prime examples if you google for them though,
“Human can surprise you sometimes. An unpredictable species, Homo sapiens”

----Katherine Applegate

Katherine Applegate, a multiple award-winning American author, has penned a deeply moving tale about an adult gorilla living inside a glass cage in a mall in America, in her book, The One and Only Ivan. Inspired from real-life events, the author pens a heart-breaking yet thoroughly entertaining story about a gorilla and his friends and his mission to find freedom, and mind it, this book is not on
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Great Middle Grad...: BOTM for November is The One and Only Ivan 14 52 Jan 05, 2021 10:57AM  
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Katherine Applegate is the author of The One and Only Ivan, winner of the 2013 Newbery Medal. Her novel Crenshaw spent over twenty weeks on the New York Times children's bestseller list, and her first middle-grade stand-alone novel, the award-winning Home of the Brave, continues to be included on state reading lists, summer reading lists, and class reading lists.

Katherine has written three picture

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The One and Only Ivan (2 books)
  • The One and Only Bob

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