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Publisher's Summary

Soon to be a major motion picture!

Winner of the Newbery Medal and a number one New York Times best seller

This stirring and unforgettable novel from renowned author Katherine Applegate celebrates the transformative power of unexpected friendships. Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this novel is told from the point of view of Ivan himself. This acclaimed middle grade novel is an excellent choice for tween readers in grades 5 to 6, especially during homeschooling. It’s a fun way to keep your child entertained and engaged while not in the classroom. 

Having spent 27 years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes. 

The One and Only Ivan was hailed as a best book of the year by Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Amazon, demonstrating it is a true classic in the making. 

In the tradition of timeless stories like Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little, Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan's unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope. An author's note depicts the differences between the fictional story and true events. 

Plus don't miss The One and Only Bob, Katherine Applegate's return to the world of Ivan, Bob, and Ruby! 

©2012 Katherine Applegate (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The One and Only Ivan

Average Customer Ratings
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great family book

was a great book for the whole family. there were are couple parts that brought tears.

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What a good book!

I read it with my son.. We can’t wait to see the movie now. Starting The one and only Bob next!

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2kids1mum

We loved this. The voices and story were great. We can't wait to listen to " The One and Only Bob.

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Can I give it 5 1/2 stars?

Very good book because I love gorillas and I love dogs, and elephants, and art. -AB 8 years old

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  • Ed
  • 2013-09-03

Very nice story

I often listen/read kids' books with my 10-year-old daughter and usually like them. The One and Only Ivan was no exception. It's one of this year's Sunshine State Books for 3rd-5th graders. They (Florida education officials) select 15 books each year and we've yet to come across one that hasn't been excellent. This book teaches about kindness and the importance of "peer" interaction. The chapters in the book were numerous and short. The story snippets were organized and easy to follow. Everything blended together well. Listen (and read along) with your kid. You will both enjoy the experience.

95 people found this helpful

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  • M. Pharr
  • 2018-09-04

animal stories get me choked up...

Wanted to cry at points because it was sad. Did cry at the end because it was happy.

25 people found this helpful

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  • Nothing really matters
  • 2015-07-19

You gorilla like this... (sorry, couldn't resist)

You gorilla like this... (sorry, couldn't resist)

I bought this book on sale to listen to with my kids while driving. My son liked the title and premise, so he and I listened to it on our way to and from twice-weekly summer soccer sessions.

My boy loved it. At first, I did not think I was going to like it, though. I can't remember now what it was I initially objected to. But the story really redeemed itself before it was half over, and I wound up loving it, too. I'll never forget that when the story finished, he and I sat in silence. I don't know if his reason was the same as mine, but I was close to tears.

The One and Only Ivan is a poignant children's story that adults will love, too. It contains wonderful messages about friendship, integrity, empathy, and grit. I highly recommend it to parents. It will appeal to both boys and girls.

75 people found this helpful

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  • Tess
  • 2013-06-23

Another great read for kids grades 3- on

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, my daughter and I loved this! Completely different than many books because it is told from Ivan's (the gorilla) point of view. There are SAD parts in the book... So prepare your kids if they are sensitive. But in the end all is happy:) If you have ever wondered what it is like for a gorilla, abused elephants, and a stray dog to live together in a small domain at the mall and see what they really think of it, you need to read this. As a parent I believe there are many underlying themes about animal cruelty. It does not speak negatively about zoos because those are the ones who come and help.
This is one of my top 20 children's chapter books:)

Any additional comments?

We did listen and follow along with the paper book/kindle because there are great pictures and Katherine Applegate does some cool effects for the pages (like when Ivan is talking). Also pay attention at the end because it explains how this is based on a true story.

33 people found this helpful

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  • MiSC
  • 2016-11-15

Brilliant, and certainly not only for kids.

The book is fantastic, heartwarming and sad, humorous and joyful, with a cast of supporting characters who are, each in his or her own right, unforgettable.

I need more! I want a book about Stella! And oh how I'd love to know what trouble Bob's gotten into in his life.

Thank you for this beautiful story.

One more note: This is by far and away the finest book narration Ive ever heard. Truly wonderful.

29 people found this helpful

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  • kimberlyCafe
  • 2015-07-06

Based on a Real Story

Such a great story and so wonderfully narrated. I own this book yet have still played the audio version twice already.
The narrator, Adam Grupper, does a great job going in and out of characters and voices. Highly enjoyable.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Donna
  • 2018-09-25

Fabulous Story for all ages.

Made me laugh, made me cry and couldn't wait to see what happened next. Good read.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Amy Jackson
  • 2016-12-14

The best book 📚

I love this book I listen to it about every night before I go to Sleep 😴
Get this book right now 😎

19 people found this helpful

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  • Nancy
  • 2013-07-22

Excellent for children and adults.

If you could sum up The One and Only Ivan in three words, what would they be?

Touching tale well-told

What other book might you compare The One and Only Ivan to and why?

None comes to mind

What about Adam Grupper’s performance did you like?

The pace at which he reads works well for the story.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Well told tale of friendship, hope and inspiration.

17 people found this helpful

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  • rebekah omas
  • 2016-05-15

Appropriate for kids 8 to 12. Heartwarming.

My students loved this. So did I. There is a lot to think about and discuss.

14 people found this helpful