Review: The one and only Ivan

Title: The one and only Ivan
Author: Katherine Applegate
Genre: children fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Hardback
Pages: 301
Published: January 2012



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.

One of the fabulous illustrations by Patricia Castelao
The one and only Ivan is a story for everyone, for children and adults, young and not so young people. This is a story that touches your heart, gently, and makes you cry, a lot. Illustrated by the fabulous drawings of Patricia Castelao, The one and only Ivan is the story of a group of animals, namely a gorilla, an elephant and a dog, living together in a mall. They are so different but they've something in common: they were ripped from their family and their own world. They are animals but this doesn't mean that they aren't smart or they don't have feelings just like every human beings (and sometimes they're better than several people, I think). But most people don't seem to understand these things and they act like stupids.
The book is divided into very short chapters and it's very well written. Feelings ooze from the author's words: sadness, loneliness, trust... It's a sad book but it's also full of hope and you can't do anything unless falling in love with Ivan, Stella, Ruby and Bob (I miss you all, guys!).
My first Katherine Applegate's book, certainly not the last.

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