Thursday, January 3, 2013

Gold Star Review: The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan
by Katherine Applegate

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, 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 and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

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. (description from

This is a stellar book. Absolutely stellar. The concept is phenomenal. The characters, though animals, are still anthropomorphized (humanized) enough to make them evoke sympathy from readers.  The storyline is perfect. The writing style fits the character and story beautifically.

Yes, I am gushing. This book deserves to be gushed over.  If you have not read it yet, PICK THIS ONE UP. I guarantee that every reader will find something to love.  Animals, art, love, grief, it's all here. The free form verse makes this book a breeze to read (I think it took me an hour or so) and my heart was bursting when I was done. 

I cannot recommend this one enough. If it does not win at least one award this year, I think I will be shocked and somewhat appalled. Definite GOLD STAR.

Full disclosure: Borrowed from my Library

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    Nice to meet you. I am a school librarian in Springfield! I also review verse/poetry for SLJ and Monday I'm having an Ivan party -- I was out shopping the net for ideas.