The One & Only Ivan

"It's hard to put into words. Gorillas are not complainers. We're dreamers, poets, philosophers, nap takers.”
– Katherine Applegate




In This Kit You’ll Find:

  • 8 copies of The One & Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
  • 2 copies of A Mom for Umande by Maria Faulconer
  • 2 copies of Little Beauty by Anthony Browne
  • 2 copies of Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate
  • 1 copy of the discussion questions (you may keep)
  • Book sign-up sheet to keep track of books (you may keep)
  • One & Only Ivan Crossword Puzzle Worksheets (you may keep)
  • A Mom for Umande Coloring Pages (you may keep)

Themes for Discussion:

  • The One & Only Ivan: Animal rights, man vs. the natural world, freedom & confinement, identity, personal responsibility, art & creativity, storytelling, mother figures, loneliness, memory & the past
  • Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla: Animal rights, helping others
  • Little Beauty: Loneliness, animals, building friendships, communicating difficult emotions, helping others
  • A Mom for Umande: Human-animal relationships, building friendships, adoption, mother figures, helping others



About the Book:

The One & Only Ivan: When Ivan, a gorilla who has lived for years in a down-and-out circus-themed mall, meets Ruby, a baby elephant that has been added to the mall, he decides that he must find her a better life. (Novelist)

Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla: This is the true story of Ivan, known as the Shopping Mall Gorilla, who lived alone in a small cage for almost 30 years before being relocated to the gorilla habitat at ZooAtlanta. (Novelist)

Little Beauty: When a gorilla who knows sign language tells his keepers that he is lonely, they bring him a very special friend. (Novelist)

A Mom for Umande: Because his own mother is too young to take care of him, Umande, a newborn gorilla, is fed and cuddled by human zookeepers until a surrogate mother is found. (Novelist)

You’ll Like It If You Like:

Illustrated chapter books, books that touch your life and heart and leave a lasting impression, books teaching life lessons, animal friendships, descriptive writing

Reading Level:

The One & Only Ivan: Read Together, Grades 3 - 5; Read Alone, Grades 4 - 7

Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla, Little Beauty, & A Mom for Umande: Ages 0 - 8 years



Request Kit Here


Fun things To Do & Explore at Your Book Club:

  • Watch: The book trailer for The One & Only Ivan:


  • Watch: The author, Katherine Applegate, talk about the true story behind Ivan:
  • Solve: For One & Only Ivan readers, Using the worksheets included in the folder, complete the crossword puzzle sheets with questions about details from the book.


  • Research: Head to the sites, Defenders of Wildlife and ZooAtlanta to learn more fun facts about gorillas and specifically, the real Ivan. Share your findings with each other.
  • Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla Readers: For all ages, Ivan enjoyed creating his fingerprint with paints and making his mark. Create your own fingerprint art like Ivan. Use these ideas:
  • A Mom for Umande Readers: Color images of Umande and his friends using the coloring worksheets included in the folder.
  • Little Beauty Readers: Create and discuss a list of other emotions that Gorilla could have had other than angry, sad or happy. Do you ever feel those emotions? What do you do?

What to read next:



Kid Reviews: Let us know what you thought about The One & Only Ivan.

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