The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan


Katherine Applegate




Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living in a shopping mall, 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, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting.

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.


This book is part of my summer reading challenge! I am working my way through all the Newbery Award winning books! Recently I’ve reviewed Sounder, The Giver, and Hello, Universe(the latest Newbery Award winner of 2018).

Here is a link to all award winning books…
Newbery Winners

The One and Only Ivan won the award in 2013. I was a little reluctant to start this book, I was worried it would be a tear-jerker like Bambi or Dumbo. Ugh…The sad animal stories really take it out of me…😞

Ivan has a few frIends, Ruby the baby elephant, an older elephant, Stella, and a dog named Bob. I can’t say their aren’t sad events that take place for Ivan and his friends on display in the mall, but you will fall in love with these animals!

Mack runs the arcade, he just wants the animals to bring in the crowds of people, that’s it. He isn’t tending to the animals as he should.

The custodian comes in at night, often with his daughter, Julia, who has become friends with Ivan. She brings him pads of paper, crayons and finger paint to inspire his creative side. She becomes a friend to Ivan too! As times goes on, day after day, Ivan makes a decision.

So adorable and heartwarming I was in tears as I finished it. I love this story! 💗It is an easy read, probably upper elementary reading level, and I am so glad I read it!

Thanks for reading this review! This is such an easy read, don’t miss out on this adorable novel.

#colecampfireblog, #theoneandonlyivan, #newberywinners, #bookreviews, #books,


9 replies »

  1. This sounds so incredible, especially since I’m fond of gorillas (I forgive the gorilla that put his middle finger up at us at the zoo 😂) and elephants. I know I’ll cry at the sad parts.
    Thanks for telling us about this book. I’m so happy I learned of it. 😊

    Oh….I forgot to ask if this book is fiction or non-fiction?

    • Awe… thank you for your thoughtful comment! I didn’t think to discuss that in my review.. so thank you for asking!
      It is a work of fiction, but the inspiration did come from a real Gorilla named Ivan who sadly spent many years(almost 30) without seeing a single other gorilla.
      If you love gorillas(despite your unfortunate zoo experience) 🤣 you will adore this story!

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