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The One and Only Ivan

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  109,446 ratings  ·  12,508 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.
Kindle Edition, 325 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!!
Lily yes its such a good book its all about friendship and sorting out differences

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4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  109,446 ratings  ·  12,508 reviews

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Rick Riordan
Nov 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.

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
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
The One and Only Ivan, Katherine Applegate
The One and Only Ivan is a children's novel written by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by Patricia Castelao. The book is about a silverback 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 silverback gorilla. The story is placed at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. Ivan, the silverback gorilla, has lived in captivity at the Big Top Mall for 9,855 days by his own tally. He
Whitney Atkinson
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!
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
Sherry Philippus
Apr 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: all-time-fav, own-it
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.
"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
[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
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,
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
Stella Chen
Mar 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Shannon (leaninglights)
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
Lindsey Rey
Apr 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, middle-grade
This was the absolute CUTEST!!!!!
Diane S ☔
Feb 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 26, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, audio
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
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}
Apr 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone aged 12+
Recommended to Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship} 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
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
“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
May 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to read a short and sweet story today. Some fluff. What I didn't realize was that this book isn't fluff. It's heartbreaking and cruel and true and one of the most important stories for children (and adults) I've ever read.

The story is about Ivan, a silverback gorilla who lives in a mall. The book is based on a real gorilla who was locked up in a cage of a Washington mall for 27 years before public awareness finally grew and people demanded that he be brought to a zoo (in Atlanta) at lea
Jan 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Based on a true story, THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN is the tale of a silverback gorilla who's forgotten how to be a gorilla in many ways. Raised in a house with people who fed him ice cream cones and took him to baseball games, Ivan grows rambunctious and ends up creating finger paintings as one of the star attractions in a mall circus. When Ruby, a baby elephant arrives, Ivan promises to save her from a lifetime chained in a tiny cage. To do so, he needs to reclaim his title as silverback, the leader ...more
5/5 stars

The Skinny:

Ivan, a lonely silverback gorilla, has lived in the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade for 27 years. Ivan’s only friends are an elephant named Stella, A small dog named Bob, and a human girl named Julie. Ivan is content in his domain (as he calls it), because he does not really know any differently. One day, a new animal arrives at the struggling Big Top Mall. Ruby, a baby elephant awakens something within Ivan. Suddenly his domain doesn’t seem so warm anymore; now it seems
Lauren Lanzilotta
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based on an unfortunately true story- Ivan the gorilla has been contained and displayed at a shopping mall for around 27 years of his life, alone in a concrete room to be looked at by shoppers. Forced to perform and paint pictures for profit.

I’ll leave a video link here if you’d like to learn about Ivan’s real life story.

Katherine Applegate has masterfully demonstrated Ivan’s story in a book for middle grade students. I think it’s very important for kids t
Steven Stickler
Mar 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My, what a marvelous book. Absolutely beautiful. I hesitate to review it. I’d rather just say this: Read it. Soon. Preferably today. Don’t waste your time on the rest of this review when you could be reading the book.

Okay, now that you’ve read the book, here’s my take on things: It is not exactly a secret that this book is one of the most celebrated of the year. For me, that is often a sign to stay away. What sort of book could live up to such critical acclaim? Who needs the disappointment?

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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
“Memories are precious ... they help tell us who we are.” 138 likes
“I like colorful tales with black beginnings and stormy middles and cloudless blue-sky endings. But any story will do.” 121 likes
More quotes…