Monday, January 30, 2012

The One and Only Ivan

"I am Ivan. I am a gorilla.

It's not as easy as it looks."

And so begins the story of Ivan, a silverback gorilla living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade.

"Ivan 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.

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."

The One and Only Ivan is a book that young readers will want on their bookshelves so they can visit Ivan as often as they wish. Yes, Katherine Applegate hooks readers with the lovable and unforgettable Ivan. However, this book will also lure readers with its short chapters. I know readers who will be tempted by the 'white space' in this book. There might not be room for Ivan to breathe in his Exit 8 Big Top Mall domain, but Katherine Applegate breathes life into her words and uses the space on each page to add a sense of poetry to her prose.

I cried when reading this book, but I also laughed out loud. It's a story told from a gorilla's point of view that will stay with me for a long time. It is likely that this book will stay in my Top Twelve Favorites of 2012!

Be sure to read the author's note at the end of the book which shares the story of Ivan, the real gorilla who now lives at Zoo Atlanta. The real Ivan spent twenty-seven years alone in a cage at a circus-themed mall in the state of Washington.

Click HERE to watch the book trailer.

Happy Reading!
Mrs. Tyo

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!


  1. I had my doubts about this one, but it was very, very powerful.

    1. Thank you for your comment! The waiting list in my classroom has grown to over twenty readers! Wow! I'll have to request another copy or two from the library.

  2. This was an AMAZING book!

    Hope to see you again at the Dublin Literacy Conference!

    1. It's been less than a week, and I want to read IVAN again! I'll be at Dublin. Can't wait!