Review: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Title: The One and Only Ivan

Author: Katherine Applegate

Pages: 307 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

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 colour 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 humour and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope. 

(GOODREADS BLURB)

The Review

I was not emotionally prepared for this story. 

I was asked by one of my students to get The One and Only Ivan for our school library and because I am a delightful person I bought a copy. Then I read it. We like to vet as many of the books that we can so that we don’t cause any upset to our students. I really wasn’t prepared for this story.

I am not a lover of animal stories. It isn’t that I actively won’t read them but they wouldn’t be my first choice. The One and Only Ivan is based on the true story of Ivan the gorilla who was kept in captivity in a mall in America. In this story, the animals are anthropomorphised and we see from their point of view what it is like to live in captivity. The other animals – mainly the elephants Ruby and Stella – make Ivan remember what life is like outside of captivity.

The One and Only Ivan had me in bits. If you do read it then please keep the box of tissues handy because you will need them.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate is available now.

For more information regarding Katherine Applegate (@kaaauthor) please visit www.katherineapplegate.com.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit the Twitter page.

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