Winter 2012 Kids' Next List
“Ivan, a gorilla, has spent most of his life with humans and the other animals at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. His memory of life before humans and cages is hazy, until a terrified young elephant joins him and he starts to remember the importance of family and belonging. A wonderful read, full of heart.”
— Lisa Fabiano, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA
Winner of the Newbery Medal and a #1 New York Times bestseller This stirring and unforgettable novel from renowned author Katherine Applegate celebrates the transformative power of unexpected friendships. Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this illustrated novel is told from the point of view of Ivan himself. Having spent 27 years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes. The One and Only Ivan was hailed as a best book of the year by Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Amazon, demonstrating it is a true classic in the making. In the tradition of timeless stories like Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little, Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan's unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope. An author's note depicts the differences between the fictional story and true events.