ISBN: 9780061992254

Katherine A. Applegate’s story, The One and Only Ivan, is an interesting story of a young gorilla who has lived near humans for a long period of time. He’s always been happy with his life in the human world and never even thought about the life that he has left in the jungle. It’s been a long time since Ivan was last in the jungle and right now he just likes to think about his new life and the new friends he has made in that life. Stella, Bob and soon Ruby are all going through some crazy things.


Art and Life

Ivan is an artist who wants nothing more than to have the perfect picture captured on paper. He struggles to make everything he creates come alive with the stroke of a brush or a line of color. Things seem to be going well for Ivan and he’s not sure he wants anything to ever change. But something big is definitely going to change for him. Ruby is just a baby when she’s taken away from her own family and brought to live with Ivan. She’s not as happy as he is about things and she’s going to make him see some things differently as well.


The story of Ivan and Ruby is definitely one that will take you to another world. These two animals have thoughts and feelings that are just like those of humans. They have plans for their future and ideas or goals they want to accomplish. But being captured by humans makes their lives different and living in glass cages where their every moment is watched by those humans makes it even more so. Ivan thought he was happy with his life the way it was but is he really?


Life from the point of view of the animals that have been brought in as entertainment is a very different sort of life than most people are accustomed to. Instead of looking at the zoo from the point of view of someone watching, it’s looking at that zoo from inside the cage. Some of the animals are content to be there but not every one of them is going to be happy with their new life, especially if they can remember what came before. Ivan and Ruby have very different views on the human world and their home but who is truly the right one in The One and Only Ivan?

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About The Author
Samantha Rivera
  • Abby Clare
    November 12, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Ivan is the type of character that you just fall in love with, especially when you’re a little kid. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine A. Applegate was a great story for my children. They loved the characters and of course they adored that those characters were all animals. It just made the story that much better to them. I wish there was more to read about Ivan and Ruby and I know that my kids do too. I definitely recommend this book to any parent with children under the age of ten and if they want to read for themselves older kids will love it too.

  • Angie Randall
    November 12, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Katherine A. Applegate’s book, The One and Only Ivan, is a great children’s story about being happy with what you have and always wanting something more. Ivan was perfectly content with his life up until he met a new friend. And now he’s starting to think about what he has lost. He’s wondering what he could have had if he hadn’t come to this new life and it’s all because of Ruby that those things are happening. His life won’t necessarily be everything that he’s always wanted it to be but that just makes the point even better for children, life is really what you make it.

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