91 pages 3 hours read

Katherine Applegate

The One And Only Ivan

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2012

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.


Teacher Introduction

The One and Only Ivan

  • Genre: Fiction; middle-grade animal fiction
  • Originally Published: 2012
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 570L; Grades 4-7
  • Structure/Length: 153 chapters; approx. 336 pages; approx. 3 hours, 46 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist/Central Conflict: The novel is narrated by Ivan, a silverback gorilla living in a small, dismal circus-themed mall. Ivan is content with his routine until the arrival of Ruby, a baby elephant, prompts him to question his captivity and yearn for a better life. Ivan and his friends, including Stella, an elephant, work together to plan their escape to a sanctuary. The central conflict revolves around Ivan’s journey of self-discovery, friendship, and determination to give Ruby a chance at a life free from captivity.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Themes of captivity; animal welfare; friendship challenges; animal abuse and neglect

Katherine Applegate, Author

  • Bio: Born 1956; American author known for her books for children and young adults; often explores themes of empathy, kindness, and the human experience in her works; The One and Only Ivan is celebrated for its ability to address complex subjects in an accessible way for young readers; has written across genres and age groups; also known for Crenshaw and other novels that engage young readers with thoughtful stories
  • Other Works: Crenshaw (2015); Wishtree (2017); Home of the Brave (2007); The Buffalo Storm (2013); The Truth of Me (2013); Endling: The Last (2018); The One and Only Bob (2020)
  • Awards: Newbery Medal (2013)