- Title: The One and Only Ivan
- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 - 7
- Genre: Middle-Grade
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (January 6, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061992275
- ***I voluntarily reviewed an Audible copy. All opinions are my own***
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.
Anyone that knows me well knows of my love for animals and gorillas are some of my favorite animals. I've heard of this book and finally had a chance to listen to the Audible version while cleaning, unpacking, and organizing my bedroom. I also had someone tell me I should read this to my class of 2nd graders. Before I do a read-aloud I always read it first on my own. I'm really glad I did. This story reminds me so much of Charlotte's Web that I read each year to my class. The One and Only Ivan seems to kick the sadness aspect up a notch, especially because this novel and the gorilla Ivan is based on the real-life gorilla Ivan who spent 27 years in a small cage in a strip mall.
Meet Author: Katherine Applegate
Katherine Applegate is the author of The One and Only Ivan, winner of the Newbery Medal and a #1 New York Times bestseller. Her other books include the acclaimed Wishtree, Crenshaw, Home of the Brave, and the Roscoe Riley Rules series. She lives in California with her family. www.endlingbooks.com
Here is what she had to say about this book:
On what she'd like young readers to take away from the book...
"I think we have a real obligation when we do have animals in captivity to understand their needs and to care for them as well as we can. Stella the elephant in Ivan says, 'You know humans surprise you sometimes,' and I hope that the next generation can surprise us all."
2012 Christopher Medal
Gold Medal in Juvenile LIterature, 2012 California Book Award
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators 2013 Crystal Kite Award Winner
------------------------------------------------------------------ #1 New York Times bestseller
School Library Journal Best of Children's Books 2012
Kirkus Reviews Best of Children's Books 2012
Amazon 2012 Best Books of the Year, Middle Grade
Chicago Public Library Best of the Best 2012 New York Public Library 100 Books for Reading and Sharing, 2012
Cybils shortlist, 2012 middle-grade fantasy (Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards)
Texas Bluebonnet Award, 2013-14 Master List
2012 Nerdies Book Award, middle-grade fiction
A copy of the author’s Newbery Medal acceptance speech is at the back of a copy of The One and Only Ivan. In it, the author says,
"We live in a world where children are bullied into despair and even suicide; where armed guards in a school hallway are considered desirable; where libraries are padlocked because of budget cuts; where breakfast and backpacks, for too many children are unaffordable luxuries.”
“What makes children better than the rest of us is that they are buoyant, unrepentant optimists.”
As a writer, reader, and lover of words, I make it a habit to ‘stop time’ whenever I come across sparkling phrases that deserve homage. A ‘stop time’ is where we stop whatever we are doing to read out loud and to listen; we listen to both the author’s words and to what made that phrase so meaningful to the reader.
Although my son and I read the same book, our reactions to it were as different as a carefree stroll through the park and being caught in a traffic snarl in the city at rush hour. Where my son delighted in the animal conversations, I sobbed.
Pixar uses humor with double meaning brilliantly in their storytelling. Katherine Applegate uses the same technique, but in a more realistic vein.
I sobbed because the adult world my son will live in doesn’t have easy answers. It isn’t colorful, silly, and happy all the time. The innocence of his childhood is beginning to seep away.
While Ivan and Ruby soothe each other and tell stories to help them sleep, the author communicates the ache of loneliness, coping skills, feeling boxed in, and the power that is found when helping a friend…or your own child.
The first ‘stop time’ that my son called happened when Ivan makes an impossible promise to Ruby, the baby elephant.
I’ve been waiting and watching for this moment. A maturity level that notices deeper concepts. An opportunity to share family ideals and values. An easing into the world of adulthood – or at least into the turbulent teens.
“Children know all about sadness,” comments Applegate in her speech. “We can’t hide it from them. We can only teach them how to cope with its inevitably and to harness their imaginations in search for joy and wonder.”