Review of “The One and Only Ivan”

Here’s my review of Katherine Applegate’s “The One and Only Ivan.”

Obviously, I loved it and I wouldn’t change a thing about the story. Kudos to her for taking a relatively simple concept and crafting one of the most poignant stories of our time.

The One and Only Ivan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an amazing story told with clarity and clever devices. My son read this for 4th grade, and it’s really the kind of book that should be required reading in our school systems–especially today.

Told from the perspective of a thoughtful if downtrodden Silverback gorilla, “Ivan” puts readers into his domain–a cage in the center of a down-and-out circus-themed mall. You buy every word of it. There’s no Disney-type anthropomorphic gags, and the humor is mostly of the poignant variety. Start to finish, the story and characters are spot-on.

Author Katherine Applegate also is a master in the use of white space and import. The book is largely written with a poet’s economy of words. When Ivan thinks something profound, it resonates in part because of how those words dominate a largely blank page. It’s a genius tactic, leaving the reader to ponder many facets of the Human condition.

View all my Goodreads reviews.



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