Living at Big Top Mall, Ivan, the gorilla, knows only the world he can see through a thick glass wall and hear about from Bob, the stray dog who visits via the small broken piece in the cage. Wise Stella, the elephant, gives glimpses of a life in captivity, but it’s not until Ruby, the baby elephant, arrives that everything changes.
Stella dies. Ivan consoles Ruby by reaching way back into his memories he didn’t know he still had and tells her stories of his parents, his sister and playing in the vines. Then come stories of capture and fear and living with humans.
Humans, in The One and Only Ivan, are complex. Humans have saved animals’ lives and humans have been cruel. Two humans prove to be the kind of friends that Ivan and Ruby need most–the kind that listen, care and help.
Told through Ivan’s voice, Katherine Applegate has crafted a graceful masterpiece about friendship and as much freedom as we can get.