THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN
by Katherine Applegate
HarperCollins Children's Books 2012
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.
Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.
Why kids will love it - Told from Ivan's point of view, kids will love reading from the perspective of a gorilla. The friendship between the animals is no different than humans, and the questions Ivan raises about humans will make kids laugh. The ending of the story will have all readers shouting for joy.
What I learned as a writer - Applegate uses such simple, even language, yet the story is beautiful and artful. She shows that using big words and flowery language isn't necessary to write a wonderful story. The use of short chapters was also interesting to see and follow, as not many books use that format.
Overall, this is wonderful story that deserves all the accolades and awards it has received. For other MMGM books, be sure to visit the links to the right on my website. Have a great week!