The One and Only Ivan has been on my To-Be-Read pile for about two years now. I kept hearing how wonderful it was but never really found the time to read it. It’s a lovely story that deserves the recognition it’s received (Newbery Medal Winner).
Author: Katherine Applegate
Genre: animal story
Age group: middle grade
Synopsis: Ivan is a silverback gorilla who was spent nearly his entire life in the company of humans, and most of that within the Big Top Mall and Video Arcade at Exit 8, where he has been the main attraction for years. It’s been a pleasant enough existence for Ivan who doesn’t remember much. His memory is nothing like that of his elephant friend Stella, who also lives at the Big Top Mall, and can remember all sorts of things before life at the mall. One day a new baby elephant arrives. Her name is Ruby, and when changes come to the mall, Ivan decides he must find a better existence for her.
This is the kind of book that fits right in with Charlotte’s Web, so if you’re a fan of that, you’ll like The One and Only Ivan, too. The best part of this story for me was Ivan’s voice. The whole book is told from Ivan’s perspective, and Applegate creates such a persona for this giant ape that you can’t help but love him. If you like animal stories or stories of touching (and somewhat unlikely) friendships, you’ll really enjoy this one.