The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate 2012 Winner of the Caldecott 2013 Age Range: 8 and up

It has been eight years since Katherine Applegate had introduced Ivan to the literary world, however, this story will remain innovative because the story is seen through the eyes of an improbable hero. Ivan a gorilla born artist, was born in the jungle where he practiced art and was given the name Mud by his parents, nonetheless he wished that he could be an artist to imagine “worlds that don’t yet exist”. Ivan realized that after years of living in his domain (captivity) that he viewed life as what it is instead of what could be. When Ivan’s friend an elephant named Stella was dying, he made a promise to her to take care of Ruby a baby pachyderm, with the realization that he had to set her free. Ivan’s conversations with Ruby resulted in not only conjuring up his past but it also set a path for Ivan - when he realized he had a unique gift as a storyteller through art, although, humans did not understand his communication - his art is seen in a nuanced way. Ivan’s art was completed with the intent to save a friend – and when the art is understood – it transformed his world, it shifted humans’ perspective on captivity, and the artist was free to imagine a world that did not exist yet…or maybe it did.

A Bookish Decree: Change is inevitable even to one in a domain. Change can bring motivation-a revolution (if needed), acting on it can show how powerful one can be.

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