The One and Only Ivan
Ivan is a silverback gorilla that lives at the “Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade… conveniently located off I-95.” He has lived there for 9,885 days. His friend Stella, an elephant, joins him. Bob, a stray dog that shares Ivan’s domain or cage, as he refuses to call it. Katherine Applegate is the author of The One and Only Ivan. Adam Grupper narrates this audiobook book. His deep gruff voice of Ivan transforms to his sarcastic voice for Bob, the sweet motherly voice of Stella, and the naive childlike voice of Ruby. Grupper narrates the humans in the story as well from the artistic and curious Julia to her firm yet her stable father, George to Mack, the owner of the big top mall is Mac who constantly has the right intentions, until he doesn’t. The narration was very entertaining and emotional at times. He leads the reader through the world of Ivan and the other animals at the mall until the media comes calling and everything changes for all of the characters in the book.
This book is great for ages 8-12 and has won several awards, including a Newbery Medal in 2013. Katherine Applegate has a simplistic, yet impactful, writing style, which illustrates the world of Ivan to the reader in short sentences and paragraphs without the traditional indent at the beginning. Her style is a series of simple and precise words to emphasis the themes and build the imaginative world of Ivan that she created based off the real Ivan who spent 30 years in a mall in the state of Washington before being rescued and sent to a zoo. Her perspective that she writes through Ivan is thought provoking of what he could have been, but he was never too late to be what he was intended to do.
Applegate, K. (2012). The One and Only Ivan. New York, NY: Harper Collins.