Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Good Day Dear Readers,
The Queen here with a chapter book for older readers titled, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. I adored this based on a true story fictional tale about a Gorilla who wanted to make a difference. This is a story adults will want to read with their children. After, take the book a step farther by checking out the links below and learning the true story behind Applegate's tale. There really was a silverback gorilla names Ivan, who really was part of a circus mall side show, and who really did paint pictures.

The tale of Ivan is beautifully done with a simple text and lovely drawings. However, there is nothing simple about the reality of what happened to Ivan, and other animals as well.

Happy Reading,
The Queen


Author: Katherine Applegate

Book Information:

Publisher and date: HarperCollins; 1 edition (January 17, 2012)
Reading level: 8 - 12 years
Book Info: Hardcover: 320 pages
Genre: Fiction chapter book
ISBN: 978-0061992254 

Book Theme:
Friendships, helping, animal protection, zoos, circus, animal cruelty, promises, art

Book Summary
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.

Activity Adventures:

From the Author

When I started to write about the grim facts of the real Ivan's solitary existence, a new tale slowly began to take shape.  At least on the page, where anything is possible, I wanted to give Ivan (even while captive behind the walls of his tiny cage) a voice of his own and a story to tell.
For more about the book, visit

Research: Find out more about the real Ivan
Remembering Ivan Foundation on Facebook: See some of Ivan's real artwork.

Crafty Ideas:
All About Gorillas at Enchanted Learning: Find coloring pictures, diagrams, and information about these big wonderful creatures.

Writing Prompts:
Have you been to a zoo lately? Maybe pick a day in the near future to make a visit. Take a sketch book with you and draw what you see.

Pick your favorite animal and imagine what a day in the zoo might be like. Really put yourself in their paws, hooves or whatever. People come to watch you. Some seem to admire you, but there might be a few who taunt you, throw things into your domain. What about the people who care for you? How would you wish to be treated if you were that animal? Would you dream of someday returning home? Or would you be happy in your zoo home? Think about these things, then write a story about your conclusions.

Discussion Questions:
On what Katherine Applegate would like young readers to take away from the book
"I think we have a real obligation when we do have animals in captivity to understand their needs and to care for them as well as we can. Stella the elephant in Ivan says, 'You know humans surprise you sometimes,' and I hope that the next generation can surprise us all."

Talk about animals you've seen in captivity, such as Zoo's, circus's, even petting zoos. What obligations do we have to them?

Our cities are filled with urban wildlife. Do we have an obligation to them as well?

What about the pets you own? What obligations do you have in understanding and caring for them?

Authors Arena

Katherine Applegate's many books include the Roscoe Riley Rules chapter book series, a picture book entitled The Buffalo Storm, and the award-winning novel, Home of the Brave. With her husband, Michael Grant, she wrote the hugely popular series Animorphs, which has sold more than 35 million copies worldwide.

Katherine was inspired to write The One and Only Ivan after reading about the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, the "Shopping Mall Gorilla." The real Ivan lived alone in a tiny cage for twenty-seven years at a shopping mall before being moved to Zoo Atlanta after a public outcry. He was a beloved celebrity at the zoo, which houses the nation's largest collection of western lowland gorillas, and was well known for his paintings, which he "signed" with a thumb-print.

Katherine lives in California with her husband and two children.

1 comment:

Ipe Decking for sale said...

It was a very good book. I found it a bit sappy, but that's what I liked about it. I hope to read the sequel to this great novel.