The One and Only IvaneBook
From the critics
Age SuitabilityAdd Age Suitability
black_cat_3047 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 11
QuotesAdd a Quote
"I gaze at the huge, shadowy box, and suddenly I understand how Ruby feels. I don't want to go into that box.
The last time I was in a box, my sister died."
Bob, who has been chewing his tail, pauses, tilting his head. "Is that a true story?"
"I always tell the truth," Stella replies. "Although I sometimes confuse the facts."
In my new life as a human, I was well tended. I ate lettuce leaves with Thousand Island dressing, and caramel apples, and popcorn with butter. My belly ballooned.
But hunger, like food, comes in many shapes and colors. At night, lying alone in my Pooh pajamas, I felt hungry for the skilled touch of a grooming friend, for the cheerful grunts of a play fight, for the easy safety of my nearby troop, foraging through shadows. . . .
Sometimes I lay awake, wishing for the warmth of another just like me, asleep in a night nest of tender prayer-plant leaves.
I liked having sips of soda poured into my mouth like a bubbling waterfall. But every now and then, I longed to search for a tender stalk of arrowroot, to feel the tease of a mango, just out of reach.
“Human babies are an ugly lot. But their eyes are like our babies’ eyes. Too big for their faces, and for the world.”
SummaryAdd a Summary
"The One and Only Ivan" is a novel by Katherine Applegate. Ivan is a silverback gorilla who lives in a stationary circus. Ivan is good friends with the other animals in the circus, especially Stella the elephant and Bob, a stray dog. When Stella dies, Ivan makes a promise to save her young friend, Ruby, from a life of captivity. It takes some time, but Ivan and Ruby are eventually moved to a zoo. "The One and Only Ivan" is a book of great courage and hope.
Having spent 27 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.
This book is told from the point of view of the gorilla Ivan. Ivan is treated as a means for income and certainly not a respected animal of God's creation. Applegate's story tells of Ivan's friendships with the other animals in this shopping mall mini-circus.
Basically what we have here is Charlotte’s Web if you took that tiny spider and replaced her with a 300-pound gorilla. Which, to be frank, would normally bode badly for said gorilla. And certainly badly is how Ivan, the titular hero of this tale, bodes when you consider that he is trapped in an off-highway mall circus. Ivan’s never questioned his fate seriously, considering that he’s been there for twenty-seven years. Then one day Mack, the owner of the mall, decides that the only way to drum up more business will be to buy a new resident. There’s already Ivan and Stella, the elephant with an injured foot that doesn’t seem to be getting better. To this mix comes Ruby, a baby elephant not long captured from her home in the wild. Thanks to Ruby, Ivan sees that this is no place for a baby of any sort and he must use all his brains and intelligence to find a way to save not just her but himself as well.
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