Having finally read THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN, it’s no surprise Katherine Applegate snagged a Newbery for this book. Ivan, a carefree gorilla, has spent almost his entire life on display at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. Humans watch him through his glass windows. His drawings–Ivan is quite the artist–are purchased in the gift shop. He doesn’t miss the jungle much, because he rarely thinks about it. And while he doesn’t have any gorilla friends, he does have Stella (a wise, elderly elephant), and Bob (a blunt, stray dog who roams the mall). But when baby elephan Ruby joins their show, everything changes.
I can’t do this book justice. It just needs to be read–by children and adults alike. The best I can do is liken it to Charlotte’s Web. Each animal has a distinct personality and voice. They work together to try and carve out a better life for a newcomer. Humans are portrayed as both the enemy and the savor, but in many cases, something in between. I bawled reading this one–both happy and sad tears. Read it, read it, read it.
Originally posted here