#79 The One And Only Ivan

The One And Only Ivan | Katherine Applegate | 320 pages, ebook | Published January 17th, 2012, by HarperCollins | Literary Awards: Newbery Medal (2013), SCBWI Crystal Kite Member Choice Awards for California/Hawaii (2013), School Library Journal Best of Children’s Books (2012), Kirkus Reviews Best of Children’s Books (2012) | Kelayakan: Middle Grade |


Through Ivan’s point of view, we’ll meet some fellow that live up Exit 8 Big Top Mall. Sure, first, there’s Ivan the mighty silverback adult gorilla. Our storyteller. Surrounding him are Stella the old-girl elephant, Bob the stray dog and Ruby the baby elephant (also a newcomer). But this novel is the story about Ivan getting to be what he  might have been.

Ivan telah berada di Exit 8 Big Top Mall selama kurang lebih 30 tahun. He spent day by day with patience, he might look lonely but he is used too. Dulu waktu Ivan masih bayi, kawanannya mati diburu manusia. Yang tersisa hanya Ivan dan saudara kembar perempuannya: Tag. Sayangnya, Tag meninggal karena tak bisa bertahan. From then on, Ivan diasuh Mack; pemilik Exit 8 Big Top Mall yang membelinya.

Bila Stella sang gajah mesti melakukan trick show untuk menarik perhatian pengunjung dan menghasilkan uang, Ivan tidak demikian. Mack bilang bahwa keberadaannya saja sudah menarik. Namun Ivan adalah gorilla yang spesial meski tanpa trick show karena Ivan adalah seorang artist. Ia bisa menggambar dan menyenanginya. Ivan menyadari bahwa menggambar membuatnya tenang.

Suatu hari, bersamaan dengan saat kesehatan Stella memburuk karena usia, datang penghuni baru. Seekor bayi gajah betina bernama Ruby. Ruby belum lama ikut sirkus hingga ia belum terbiasa dengan hal-hal yang familiar dengan manusia. Di saat yang bersamaan, Stella tak bisa lagi menahan sakit di kakinya yang tak juga diobati oleh Mack karena kekurangan dana. Di saat terakhirnya, Stella meminta Ivan berjanji untuk menjaga Ruby. Berjanji untuk tidak membiarkan Ruby berakhir sendiri hingga mati seperti Stella. Ivan menyanggupinya. Well, indeed he is the One And Only Ivan! The Mighty Silverback! But later he realized that keeping the promise is hard. How? He think really hard to release Ruby from Exit 8 Top Mall. In the End, can he achieve that?


I stay up all night, last night, and for half of the book my cheeks are wet with tears. I heart their story, who’s not? Ivan’s loneliness that he’s getting used too, the scene when Stella dying, the curious and cute Ruby, the chatter stray and untamed Bob, the way they all talk about human from experiences and judge human’s characters. I heart all of that part.

The animals

Just before this book, i’ve read Life of Pi. Animal themed too. But in Life of Pi, i learn about animals in Zoo. In this Novel, i learn about animals in Circus. Animals living in the Zoo just like changing their habitual place. But the Zoo sets to be similar so the animals can’t figure much about the differences. Still, the Zoo let the animals living the life the way the are. Except for the food, animals dont do much hunting in the Zoo.

But Circus? Animals living in the Circus is living a totally different living. They’re trained. Separated from their troop. Caged. They live in the Circus to work, manipulated to earn money. And with ‘enough time’, animals loosing their trueself. Just like what happened to Ivan. He’s a Silverback. Supposed to be the leader of his troop. The mighty, the protector adult gorilla. But because he lives in the Circus for too long (3 decades!), he lost his grip.

‘Humas speak too much. They chatter like chimps, crowding the world with their noise even when they have nothing to say.’ -Ivan

‘Gorillas are as patient as stones. Humans, not so much.’ -Ivan

‘Humans are clever indeed. But they’re lousy hunters.’ -Ivan

‘An unpredictable species, Homo sapiens.’ -Stella

‘Humans are dumb, but they’re not that dumb.’ -Bob

‘I just don’t understand them. I never will.’

‘Bad humans killed my family, and bad humans sent me here. But the day in  the hole, it was humans who saved me. Those humans were good.’ -Ruby

Other than knowing the difference between animals live in the Zoo and the Circus, I enjoy the fabel type of this novel. Because i’m entertained with the idea of them see human. The idea of how the animals judge human. Their thoughts sounds pure. Sometimes it sounds similar like a baby’s mind (well maybe its because they both can’t talk). I think i can always enjoy this ability fabel can do.

The Humans

In this novel, the humans are: Mack, Julie, George (Julie’s father), The Visitor, The Animal Lover, and The Zoo people.

Mack, he’s the one who bought Ivan. In their early time, Mack is gentle and treat Ivan like a baby human. In time after Ivan live in cage too, he’s not much different. The difference that Mack ever show is when he’s upset when he train the animals but they not obey him. We can see the worst of Mack if he begin to bring out the claw-stick. Its the hint. But really, Mack don’t meant to be mean. Its because he need to earn the living. Its not like the worst of him shows much.

Julie, she’s my favorite. Her paintings are better than Ivan, of course. And she seems the most person who can communicate with the animals. Later, we’ll see Julie discover the clue that Ivan hide through his paintings. George, Julie’s father. The cleaner and the keeper of the animal. Not much about him, but his favorite is Stella.The visitor is the people who goes in and out the Exit 8 Big Top Mall. Their attitude are various and most of it riddiculus. The animal lover are the people who voice for the animals, later they’re the one that smooth Ivan’s plan for Ruby. The Zoo people, in Ivan/Ruby’s view, are the people who’s gentle and free them.

The whole package novel

Count all the reasons i heart this book and all my comments mentioned just above, this novel is amazing. Obviously winning Newbery award, worth award winning as the Best of Children’s Books, worth to be stacked on your bookshelf (and mine, later), definitely recommended. Ggaahh.. i’m more and more in love with children’s books.

The last few paragraphs, taken from the author’s note

The One and Only Ivan is a work of fiction, but the inspiration for this imagined tale lies in a true story.

Ivan spent twenty-seven years of his life alone in a cage. Over time, as an understanding of primate needs and behavior grew, public discomfort with Ivan’s lonely state grew as well, particularly after he was featured in a National Geographic special entitled The Urban Gorilla. A public outcry followed, including heartfelt letters from children. When the mall where Ivan lived went bankrupt, he was placed on permanent loan to Zoo Atlanta, which houses the largest group of captive western lowland gorillas in the nation.

Ivan and Kinyani are real gorillas—and so, by the way, is Jambo, whose story Stella tells to Ivan and Bob. But all other characters and situations in this novel are entirely the product of my imagination. When I started to write about the grim facts of Ivan’s solitary existence, a new tale slowly began to take shape. At least on the page, where anything is possible, I wanted to give Ivan (even while captive behind the walls of his tiny cage) a voice of his own and a story to tell. I wanted to give him someone to protect, and the chance to be the mighty silverback he was always meant to be.

This is Ivan, such a thinker isn’t he? Sadly, he’s no longer exist in this world. He died in August last year. Rest in peaces, dear our Mighty Ivan.

*review ini diikutsertakan pada Fun Year With Children’s Literature: Fun Months 5 (blog ka Bzee) & Newbery  Project (blog ka Astrid)

6 thoughts on “#79 The One And Only Ivan

  1. Pingback: [Monthly Recap] November | Faraziyya's Bookshelf

  2. Pingback: Bookish Top Ten: Tear-jerker Books | Faraziyya's Bookshelf

  3. Pingback: Book Kaleidoscope – Day 2: Top Five Most Memorable Quotes | Faraziyya's Bookshelf

  4. Pingback: Faraziyya's Bookshelf | Book Kaleidoscope – Day 5: Top Five Most Favorite Books

  5. Pingback: Faraziyya's Bookshelf | 2013 Reading Challenge Books In English: Wrap Up Post

  6. Pingback: Faraziyya's Bookshelf | Liebster Blog Award

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s