The One and Only Ivan is about a gorilla named Ivan who lives at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. He has gotten use to living among humans and rarely thinks about his former life in the jungle. He instead thinks about his animal friends Bob, a stray dog, and Stella, an elderly elephant, and his "art". Then Ruby, a baby elephant, comes to live at the Mall. This single event makes Ivan begin to question where he is living and what he can do to make it better.
This book was incredible!! It is written from Ivan's point of view. Many times throughout the story I forgot that I was reading a gorilla's point of view. I tend not to read animal stories, but this one sucked me in and found a place in my heart. I have so many favorite lines from this book, but my ultimate favorites are from the first page: "I am Ivan. I am a gorilla. It's not a easy as it looks." I used these lines to get many kids to read this book. A few of them were a hard sell, but those where the ones who came back and said that Ivan was their favorite book!
One of the questions that John Schu and Colby Sharp asked was: "How did you hear about the book?" I heard about it on Twitter. Just one more reason for you to join Twitter if you haven't yet. It is such a great resource for educators. John Schu also provided two great resources for this book. The first is a link to the real Ivan (http://theoneandonlyivan.com/ivan/) and a link to the discussion guide from Harper Collins.