Monday, April 23, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? The One and Only Ivan

After reading great reviews on blogs and Twitter about The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, I finally picked up a copy and it completely lived up to all of its raving reviews!  I could not put the book down once I started reading and read it in one sitting.

If you have not had the pleasure of reading this book yet, it is about Ivan who is a silverback gorilla in captivity and is based on a true story. Ivan has spent the majority of his life in a small cage inside a shopping mall and his best friends are an elephant named Stella and a dog named Bob.  They are joined one day by a young elephant named Ruby who has a great impact on Ivan.  Ivan becomes determined not to let Ruby experience the same suffering he has so he makes a promise to Stella and to himself that he will save Ruby and give her a better life.

 I will not share anymore to spoil the book for you, but please trust me that you will fall in love with these characters and will miss them when the book is over.  The author's note at the end of the book shares the story about the real gorilla named Ivan who spent 27 years alone in a cage and spent part of those years in a mall that had a circus theme.  The real Ivan is now a "celebrity" at a zoo and is known for his paintings too!  Definitely take the time to read this important author's note in the book to learn about the true story that inspired this beautifully written book. 

Thank you Katherine Applegate for writing this amazing story and for bringing these characters into our lives.  I can not wait to share this book and these characters with my students!

Happy Reading! :)


  1. Ivan is such a great book, and perfect for sharing with students or in my case, my own kids. We were so lucky to be able to go see Katherine Applegate with my daughter's 4th grade class last week when she was at the local bookstore. She's as lovely as you'd expect and did a great humor-filled presentation about Ivan.

  2. Ivan is a special guy, isn't he? Not only do I love the story, but I love that the book is written at a level that will connect with independent readers who are looking for something more thoughtful, something that is heart-warming and real. I love that the story was based on a true event.

  3. I'm probably one of the few people who have not yet read Ivan. I'm getting to it soon, I promise! ;) Glad to see another good recommendation!

  4. I just finished reading Ivan to one of my classes, and am just starting it with another. It won the read aloud vote in both classes by a landslide! The group that has finished it was very satisfied with the ending, and they loved reading the author's note. A very special book!

  5. I am so glad that you got to read Ivan- it is such an extraordinary book.

    Happy reading this week!

  6. I'm glad you liked Ivan! It does live up to all the reviews. I was on the phone with Verizon a couple of weeks ago and the woman helping me was in Atlanta. Immediately, I asked her if she has been to Zoo Atlanta and started telling her all about Ivan. It was very cool. She didn't know him or the book but got really excited. :)