The One and Only Ivan

Book review by Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
The One and Only Ivan Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 8+

Heartwarming story of a heroic, artistic, captive gorilla.

Parents say

age 9+

Based on 22 reviews

Kids say

age 8+

Based on 36 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 10+

One of the best children's books ever!

I am shocked and saddened to read the negative reviews of this amazing book. I would agree that the book is not appropriate for very young readers. The book is sad in places and it exposes some troubling and even horrific human behavior. But the main character is dynamic, loyal, compassionate, and heroic despite the pain and loneliness he has faced, and the lessons the book teaches are timeless and invaluable. I have been an elem. teacher for 33 years. Rarely have I encountered a book of such emotion and depth. I read this book with my 5th grade class every year. There may be some tears, yes, but life is full of good and bad. We owe it to our children to expose them to quality literature like this.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
1 person found this helpful.
age 8+

Toughen Up

Kids need to know the realities of how animals are treated. This book gives us a beautiful story that helps to open up deep conversations. This is thought provoking for children and should be read and discussed. Don't turn away because some people want to shield children from harsh realities. Embrace the opportunity to help your child develop deeper thinking skills and gain a deeper sense of empathy for those deemed weaker in our society...even animals.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
1 person found this helpful.

Book Details

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