|Author: Katherine Applegate |
Illustrator: Patricia Castelao
Newbery Medal Winner
Ivan is a silverback gorilla who has been on display at a mall for years. He had been born in the wild, but one day he and his sister, Tag, were captured. While holding Ivan and Tag, his mother was killed and then his father was also killed. His parents had their hands, feet, and heads chopped off. Ivan saw an ash tray sold at a shop next to his cage. The ash tray was a gorilla hand.
|Bob and Ivan's stuffed animal, No-Tag|
|Ruby and Aunt Stella|
Business is not going well at the zoo so Mack decides to make a new purchase, a baby elephant named Ruby. Ruby and Stella form a strong bond and Stella becomes Aunt Stella. Unfortunately, Stella has an injury on her foot that Mack has refused to treat because it costs money and ends up costing Stella her life. Before she dies, Ivan promises Stella that he will care for Ruby and give her a better life, a life that does not involve the mall zoo.
The rest of the story is about Ivan's struggle to keep his promise to Stella.
The pictures in the book are soft and rounded. It is how I would describe the animal characters in this book - soft. I didn't expect all of the animals to be so kind and caring towards each other. Emotion is evident on the animals' faces and I felt for the animals. I was not expecting to like a book with talking animals, but I did. This is a book that needs to be in my classroom library. My students will want to read this book.
I'm sorry that I read this book so quickly. I'm rushing through books to make sure I read everything I need to read for class, but I'd like to read through many of these more slowly and savor each one. This is another one on my list for this summer!
Check this book out from your library.
Watch a trailer for the book!
Watch Katherine Applegate answer questions.
The One and Only Ivan lesson plans
NPR Interview: Meet the Real Ivan
Learn about another famous gorilla: Koko