The One and Only Ivan


The One and Only Ivan (hardcover)

by Katherine Applegate

AR Level 3.6, 4 points

*I have to admit that when I finished this book, I completely forgot to blog about it, so I am predating this entry to reflect when i took my AR test.  I also have to say that my recollection of this story might be a little fuzzy since it was nearly a month ago.

The One and Only Ivan is the story of a male silverback who lives in a mall with an elephant and a stray dog.  He has memories of his life as a wild gorilla in Africa, as well as his parents’ murder and his sister’s kidnapping and death.  He has become a lazy sort of gorilla, and completely misunderstood.  However, he values his friendships, particularly with an elephant in the pen next to him.  Ivan experiences love and loss, and has memories and emotions not unlike humans’ experiences.

What I liked about this book was the realness of living in captivity from the perspective of the animals actually experiencing it.  I love zoos and basically anywhere I can see animals up close.  I realize these animals have been taken from their natural habitats, but I rarely consider whether they had families they left behind, or if they are happy, or if they actually love and respect their keepers.  I see a cute animal and want to observe it.  Now, obviously, this story was written by a human and not a gorilla, but it put captive animals’ possible thoughts into perspective.

What I didn’t like about this book was that it makes me not want to go to zoos anymore, even though in the end, the zoo was the happy medium.  I would hate it if the animals I enjoy looking at had to experience what Ivan experienced.  Deep, I know.  I apologize for the cheesiness of this post, but while it was a good book, it didn’t grab me like others have.

Book 29 of 30


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