Reviews for The One and Only Ivan

by Katherine Applegate

Publishers Weekly
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"Hello, I am Ivan. I am a gorilla. It's not as easy as it looks." This is the introduction that readers receive to Ivan, who lives in confinement at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. But Ivan doesn't mind living there. In fact, he doesn't miss his previous life in the wild-until a young elephant named Ruby arrives and changes his outlook. Narrator Adam Grupper is gruff in his portrayal of Ivan, capturing the ape's voice and unique perspective. Although there is no measurable shift in Grupper's delivery to match the transformation of the book's protagonist, his approach will delight young listeners. Ages 8-12. A HarperCollins hardcover. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Inspired by a true story, Applegate (Home of the Brave) offers a haunting tale told from the perspective of Ivan, a silverback gorilla who has been confined to a small "domain" of concrete, metal, and glass for 27 years. Joining Ivan at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade are Stella, an aging elephant, and Bob, a feisty stray dog. While other animals perform, Ivan makes art, watches TV, and offers melancholy assessments of their situation. When Ruby, an inquisitive baby elephant, arrives and Stella dies from neglect, her dying wish is for Ivan to help Ruby escape. The brief chapters read like free-verse poetry, the extra line breaks between paragraphs driving home the contrast between Ivan and humans, who in his opinion, "waste words. They toss them like banana peels and leave them to rot." As is to be expected, there's significant anthropomorphism, but Applegate is largely successful in creating a protagonist who can understand humans yet feels like a gorilla. Although Ivan's role in the events leading to their rescue reads as too human, readers will be left rethinking our relationship to animals. Final art not seen by PW. Agent: Wernick & Pratt Agency. Illustrator's agent: Kidshannon. Ages 8-12. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Ivan, a silverback gorilla, has lived in a glass, metal, and concrete enclosure at Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, conveniently located off I-95, for 27 years. Bored, he watches TV, draws pictures, throws me-balls (dried excrement) at visitors, and enjoys the company of a venerable elephant named Stella and a few other friends. After a baby elephant arrives, Ivan makes Stella a solemn promise that seems impossible to fulfill. The text, written in first person from Ivan's point of view, does a good job of vividly conveying his personality, emotions, and intelligence as well as creating a sense of otherness in his point of view. His story is based on the life of a gorilla now living at Zoo Atlanta. The book's wide-spaced lines, plentiful white space, and pleasing black-and-white illustrations make this a quicker read than the page count might suggest. Animals fans will enjoy this one.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 3-7-Ivan the silverback gorilla has lived a solitary life as the star of the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade for 27 years, watching TV and painting still-life representations of objects in his domain. Separated from his family at a very young age, Ivan lived with Mack and his wife as one of the family until he became too large for their home. Now his companions are an elderly elephant named Stella and a stray dog, Bob. Although he forms an attachment to Julia, the daughter of the mall's custodian, Ivan views most humans with distaste, merely tolerating the crowds that come to stare at him daily. Life changes dramatically for Ivan, though, when a baby elephant, Ruby, is bought to replace Stella, who is dying of an old injury and neglect. Prodded by his urge to care for and protect Ruby, Ivan begins remembering what it was like to be a wild gorilla, and how he was violently taken from his family. He begins to see his "domain" as the cage that it is, and he vows to give Ruby a better life than he and Stella had. It is Ivan's art that sets him free, and his courage and resourcefulness that help him fulfill his promise. Adam Grupper gives Ivan a calm, pragmatic voice that aptly conveys his concise, descriptive sentences, while giving similarly unique voices to other characters. Applegate's Newbery winner (HarperCollins, 2012) is based on a true story. Ivan's heart-wrenching tale reminds us that every animal has the right to a safe place called home.-MaryAnn Karre, West Middle School, Binghamton, NY (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 3-7-This tender tale of friendship and hope is narrated by a silverback gorilla living at The Big Top Mall, a shabby, circus-themed roadside attraction. For years, Ivan was passively content. He had his art, unlimited bananas, and his friends: Stella (an elephant), Bob (a stray dog), and Julia (a human child). Ivan's eyes are finally opened to his deplorable surroundings when he loses a friend due to neglect. The last straw is when he witnesses the attraction's owner abusing Ruby, a newly acquired baby elephant. Thus, Ivan is inspired to take action. With some help from his human friends, his dream of a better life for all the Big Top's animals just might come true. The character of Ivan, as explained in an author's note, is inspired by a real gorilla that lived through similar conditions before being adopted by Zoo Atlanta. Applegate makes a powerful statement about the treatment of animals-especially those living in captivity-and reminds readers that all creatures deserve a safe place to call home. Castelao's delightful illustrations enhance this lovely story, and the characters will capture readers' hearts and never let go. A must-have.-Alissa J. LeMerise, Oxford Public Library, MI (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

(Fiction. 8-12)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

In short chapters that have the look and feel of prose poems, Applegate captures the voice of Ivan, a captive gorilla who lives at the "Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade." When a new baby elephant arrives, Ivan realizes they deserve more than their restrictive environment. Ivan's range of thoughts and emotions poses important questions about kinship and humanity. (c) Copyright 2012. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

The Newbery Medalwinning novel about a gorilla and an elephant, kept captive on display in a shopping mall, is reissued in an oversize edition in which the original illustrations are printed in full color. Larger trim size means larger font and expanses of white space--and a serious heft factor. Back matter includes Applegate's acceptance speech and a letter from the real Ivan's zookeeper. (c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.