The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate is a book that almost defies definition. It's a book that should earn six stars on the five star rating system, but only five stars are allowed.
It’s not quite a children’s book, but it’s not an adult book either. Rather, it’s a book for everyone, and it’s a tribute to animals everywhere who exist in small cages with substandard care due to ignorance, greed and apathy.
Applegate based this story on a real gorilla who lived for twenty-seven years in a cage in a shopping mall. Eventually, after much public protest, he was able to live in Zoo Atlanta.
The Ivan in the book is a wonderful protagonist and a wonderful narrator. Full of self-deprecating humor and with a biting wit, he tells his story with beauty and with feeling.
Ivan is an artist and he tells his story with an artist’s voice. He doesn’t just relate his story, he colors it beautifully and shades it with vibrant emotion.
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