"People call me the Freeway Gorilla. The Ape at Exit 8. The One and Only Ivan. Mighty Silverback.
The names are mine, but they are not me. I am Ivan, just Ivan, only Ivan."The One and Only Ivan is...amazing.
Like Ivan, I enjoy "colorful tales with black beginnings and stormy middles and cloudless blue-sky endings," and Katherine Applegate has delivered just this.
Based upon the life of a real gorilla, The One and Only Ivan is a story of hope and resilience, love and friendship. Applegate has surrounded Ivan with a family of fictional characters to love -- Stella, Ruby and Bob -- and Julia -- whose character reminds me that children often see what adults cannot.
Applegate's writing is crisp and her powerful and spare choice of words are evidenced in the entry headings -- mud, protector, knowing, names, patience, the promise --this is life as seen and interpreted by The One and Only Ivan. When Ivan refers to his cage as a "domain" it is not only what he understands, but it also speaks to his desire to hold onto that which was good, and we, the readers, can empathize with him.
Oh, did I mention that Ivan is an artist? Applegate deftly brings the reader into Ivan's world, where he uses his art to capture the life he knew and to change the life he has.
Read the book.
Want more information? Visit the HarperCollins Webpage.
Ivan was not just an artist in the book, he was an artist in real life and he was not just a character in a book. Sadly, Ivan, the gorilla that inspired Katherine Applegate to write The One and Only Ivan, died this past week.
~Check out the blog post from Mr. Schu Reads where he writes about visiting Ivan and traveling with a plush Ivan this past summer.
~Read this article about Ivan.
~Watch this video: