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The One and Only Ivan PDF Print E-mail

What You Need to Know:
The One and Only Ivan is a powerful and moving story.
• It is well-written and the characters are well-developed. This is a story you can be proud to give your young
   reader (and you should read it, too!).
• There is talk of death in this book, and a beloved character dies.
• While the story is by turns sad and scary, there is humor and humor throughout (mostly in the form of a little dog
   named Bob).
• This story is based on a real ape named Ivan, now living at the Atlanta zoo.
Sweet Book Summary:
The One and Only Ivan has incredible depth. In a relatively short amount of pages, Katherine Applegate has developed a rich and multi-layered story about Ivan the Mighty Silverback. Applegate takes the reader on Ivan's journey of self-discovery, a journey that leads to his freedom, literally and figuratively. I found this book to be profound in its message, and I encourage you to put it in as many young readers' hands as possible.

Ivan is a silverback gorilla. He is the Ape at Exit 8. Ivan lives at a run-down mall and was once the main attraction there. But the mall has hit hard times and the crowds are no longer coming. Ivan is bored and his friend Stella, the elephant, is chronically ill. Mack, the owner of the mall, doesn't have the money to care for Stella properly, nor does he have the money to advertise. So Mack decides to buy a baby elephant with what little capital he has, thinking a baby elephant might draw the crowds back into the mall.

Ruby arrives just in time to bond with Stella. Stella has been in captivity so long, she never had a chance to be a mother. Stella is a natural and takes Ruby on as her own. Unfortunately, it is a fleeting victory. Stella succumbs to the foot infection Mack has long been ignoring, and Ruby is orphaned for a second time. Before she dies, Stella makes Ivan promise to take care of Ruby and get her out of captivity.

This presents a great dilemma for Ivan, because in order to protect and save Ruby, he must confront his own harrowing past that he has long been trying to suppress. But Ivan is a silverback, and he understands he is mighty and noble. He made a promise to Stella that he intends to keep. With the help of Julia, the young daughter of the mall maintenance man, Ivan ends up freeing all the animals and getting them shipped to the zoo, where they are placed with other animals of their own kind. While some may not consider this to be freedom, it was certainly an upgrade from the decrepit mall situation in which they formerly lived.

The One and Only Ivan is based on a true story. The real Ivan now resides at Zoo Atlanta. I think it would be very valuable to share Ivan's real story once your young reader is done reading this special book. I especially like the feelings of empathy this story will surely provoke in the reader and may even move some budding activists to action. The example of Julia, the young girl who advocates for the animal's rights and wins, will surely spur some to like-minded endeavors.
Author: Katherine Applegate Illustrator: Patricia Castelao Published: 2012, 320 pages
Themes: Animals, Good Book Club Selection, Compassion/Empathy, Determination, Excellent Read-Aloud, Friendship, Overcoming Fears, Illness/Death, Self-Awareness/Discovery
Sweet Discussion Questions:
• What do you think was Ivan's greatest challenge?
• What did you think of Ivan's view of the world?
• Did you think his thoughts were actually like what animals in captivity think? If not, what thoughts do you think
   they have?
• What did you think of Julia? Did you think she was brave?
• Did any of the animals make you laugh? Why?
• Did you think Mack was wrong for not taking care of Stella properly? Why or why not?
• What do you imagine Ivan's life would have been like if he had never been captured?
• Did this story inspire you to do anything to help animals? In what way?
If You Liked This Book, Try:
An Elephant in the Garden, Michael Morpurgo
The Magician's Elephant, Kate DiCamillo
This recommendation was written by: Melissa Y.
Support Independent Book Shops: Click Here to Buy this Book on IndieBound
The one and only ivan
5 Saturday, 14 March 2015 00:11
This book was awesome I really like it
The Book
4 Thursday, 21 August 2014 20:18
A GREAT book. Nice excitement and a real page turner!
I started crying a couple times, which is very unusual for me.

3 Thursday, 23 January 2014 18:48
why did ivans sister die and how and did u ever meet ivan and what was his diet bugs or bannas. i realy wish i could meet him but he died on august 20,2012. just learing about him is making me cry.
would like more recommendations
2 Monday, 13 January 2014 01:11
My daughter has started a 3rd grade book club and this was the club's first choice. Each child really enjoyed it. Looking for similar reading levels that can spark great discussion and interest like this lovely story did.

Any recommendations would be so appreciated.

Thanks from the working Mom who doesn't do much school stuff.

1 Wednesday, 06 March 2013 23:05
ann and jackie
We really enjoyed this book! WOW, what a great story about both animals and humans....lots to talk about while reading. Our favorite charachers (besides Ivan, of course,) were Julia, Ruby and Bob.

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