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.
I don’t normally talk about children’s book, but this little book has caught my eye so many times I just had to feature it. The One and Only Ivan was inspired by a touching true story of a Silverback Gorilla captured in the Democratic Republic of Congo and brought to the US to be in a circus mall. There, he meets a baby elephant that changes everything about his life in captivity.
It may look like the subject matter of this book is heavy, and it is, but the author makes light of it and Ivan’s story ends well. It’s received wonderful reviews claiming it teaches children about courage, kindness, and relationships with animals. The illustrations are also pretty special.
Enjoy the trailer!