Synopses & Reviews
Winner of the 2013 Newbery Medal and a #1 New York Times
bestseller, this stirring and unforgettable novel from renowned author Katherine Applegate celebrates the transformative power of unexpected friendship. Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this illustrated novel is told from the point of view of Ivan himself.
Having spent twenty-seven years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes.
In the tradition of timeless stories like Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little, Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create an unforgettable story of friendship, art, and hope. This paperback edition includes an author's note highlighting the differences between the fictional story and true events, a version of the author's Newbery Medal acceptance speech, Ivan's "signature," discussion questions, and more.
The One and Only Ivan is a strong Common Core title that features these important strands and standards: first-person narrative; author's use of literary devices (personification, imagery); story elements (plot, character development, perspective).
“Will capture readers hearts and never let go. A must have.” School Library Journal (starred review)
“Animal-loving youngsters and their adults will find plenty of food for thought in Ivan's extraordinary story.” Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
“Exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Discover an animal hero that will take his place with other courageous and beloved animals such as Babe, Mrs. Frisby, Charlotte and Wilbur. Adults reading this aloud with children will find it just as rewarding.” Shelf Awareness
“Important.” The Horn Book
“The One and Only Ivan will break your heart and then, against all odds, mend it again. In cheering for Ivan and his friends, we cheer for our own humanity and our own possibilities. Read this.” Gary D. Schmidt, Newbery Honor author of The Wednesday Wars
“A beautifully written, intelligent and brave book. You will never look at the relationship of humans and animals in the same way again. Quite simply, this story is life changing.” Patricia MacLachlan, Newbery Medal-winning author of Sarah, Plain and Tall
“Katherine Applegate's beautiful, life-affirming story will soar directly from Ivan's heart into your own. Read it out loud. Read it alone. Read it.” Kathi Appelt, Newbery Honor author of The Underneath
Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living in a shopping mall, 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, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting.
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.
About the Author
Katherine Applegate's many books include the Roscoe Riley Rules chapter book series, the picture book The Buffalo Storm
, and the award-winning novel Home of the Brave
. With her husband, Michael Grant, she wrote the hugely popular series Animorphs, which has sold more than 35 million copies worldwide.
Katherine was inspired to write The One and Only Ivan after reading about the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, the Shopping Mall Gorilla. The real Ivan lived alone in a tiny cage for twenty-seven years in a Washington State shopping mall before being moved to Zoo Atlanta after a public outcry. He was a beloved celebrity at the zoo, which houses the nation's largest collection of western lowland gorillas. Ivan was well-known for his paintings, which he "signed" with a thumbprint.
Katherine lives in California with her husband and two children.