The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

One Only Ivan

Reviewed by Jane Oliver-Purton (Library Staff)

Last year’s Newbery Winner, The One and Only Ivan is the story of Ivan, a gorilla, Bob, a dog, and Stella, an aging elephant who reside at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, in cages (well, except for Bob.)  Life is pretty boring for the three, and Ivan spends much of his time remembering his life before capture, thinking about what he’s watched on TV, and his art.  Ivan’s crayon drawings are sold in the mall’s gift shop, and he spends time thinking about how to produce on paper the smell of a mango, that is, when he’s not eating his crayons.  Then, the mall acquires a young elephant, Ruby, and Stella, Bob, and Ivan decide their mission is now to make sure Ruby’s life isn’t spent at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall.   This story, based partly on a 1993 New York Times article the author read about the elephant housed at the B&I Shopping Mall in Tacoma, Washington.  Applegate, formerly known mostly for her Animorphs series, has penned a winner with this touching tale.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC APPLEGATE)

GR Level M, Grades 3 and up

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