The One and Only Ivan

When Mrs Morris was in the USA in June/July she enjoyed meeting many of her blogging buddies. One of the online friends she spent some time with was Mrs Hembree. Mrs Hembree is a teacher-librarian in Seattle, Washington, USA. She writes the Bulldog Readers Library Blog.

Here is Mrs Morris in San Diego with her friend, Mrs Hembree.

Mrs Hembree kindly gave Mrs Morris a gift to take back to 4KM and 4KJ. It was a copy of the book, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. This is a book that Mrs Hembree and her students really enjoyed and recommended.

About the book

Ivan is a gorilla who lives at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade with his animal companions. While he is very used to this existence in his domain, he makes a change in his life and the lives of others, with the help of his friends. The One and Only Ivan is a work of fiction that is based on a true story.

Mrs Hembree’s posts

Mrs Hembree has written some great posts about The One and Only Ivan on her blog.

  • Mrs Hembree was lucky enough to have the author, Katherine Applegate, visit her school. Read about it here.
  • She has a friend who visited the “real” Ivan at Zoo Atlanta. That post can be found here.
  • Sadly, Mrs Hembree also published a post about the real Ivan passing away recently. You can read about that here.
Mrs Hembree has even made a fabulous book trailer.

Our reflections

We have been reading a little bit of The One and Only Ivan every day this term and we enjoyed it very much. Today we finished the book! Here are some of the students’ reflections.


We would like to say

to our friend Mrs Hembree for introducing us to this wonderful story!

What did you think about The One and Only Ivan? Do you have a reflection to add?

Were there any special messages in The One and Only Ivan?

Can you recommend any other books that the students in 4KM and 4KJ might enjoy?

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18 thoughts on “The One and Only Ivan

  1. Hi there. I really enjoyed reading all about the book you have just finished and you have made me want to read it myself! It sounds like the book really touches your heart and those books are often the best books.
    In our 3/4 class, we have been reading the My Australian Story series as we have been inquiring into immigration. We have read Meet Grace and a bit of Meet Letty. We were lucky enough to have the author of Meet Letty spend two days with us as part of Book Week this week. She talked to us about the writing process and helped us do some writing ourselves.
    Thanks for sharing your learning. Keep up the great work!

    • Hi Mary!

      My name is Liv and I am in Miss Jordan’s class this year. This is the second time I have had Miss Jordan so I am very lucky indeed! I also have my own blog. This is the address…

      Thankyou so much for visiting the 4KM and 4KJ blog. Your comment was very much appreciated!

      I will have to look for those books in our school library. They sound very interesting and I’m sure they’d be great because they’re from our oewn country.

      Wow! What an experience! Having the author of a famous book come and visit. Now that’s a once in a lifetime thing!

      Thanks again!
      Your new blogging buddy,
      Liv 😉

      • Hi to my new blogging buddy Liv.
        Firstly, that was a really great comment. My class and I are new to blogging and we have been learning about making quality comments. I will be sharing your comment with them as a wonderful example.
        You should definitely check out those books we are reading. They are inspiring stories with strong female characters and we need more of those in our books don’t we? Working with one of the authors was a fantastic experience and she talked to us about all the research she did. I think some of my students were surprised that writing a novel would require so much preparation. She also did a writer’s workshop with us as well.
        I have visited your blog and it looks great! Congratulations on earning your own blog! We have a class blog you might like to check out. The address is
        Looking forward to keeping in touch with you through your class blog and your own blog!

  2. Dear 4KM and 4KJ,
    I loved the slide show about Ivan, though it was very very sad. And Bob was cute, I thought of him like my dog, a cross between a poodle and Jack Russel.
    I loved the book, my reflection is “I loved all the questions that Ruby asked at the start.”
    The questions that I remember are ‘What’s a refridgerater? And what’s a face lick?

    I recommend the Horrid Henry books, their easy but not to easy.

    Your blogging buddy,
    Bronte :mrgreen:

    • Dear Bronte,

      I also think the slide show was very sad. Well bob is no were near my dog, Arja the staffy, but I think your dog is definetly like bob.

      I thought it was pretty funny when Ruby said “What’s a face lick?” I think horrid henry books are good too.
      I also recomend pony pals. Do you recomend pony pals?

      Well I better go because I am pretty hungry.(I havent had breakfast yet :oops:)

      From your best mate,
      Iesha 😀 :mrgreen:

  3. Dear 4KM and 4KJ,

    Knowing you have loved this book as much as I have makes me very, very happy! Sometimes a story touches a special place inside a person. That’s how I feel about The One and Only Ivan.

    It was wonderful meeting Mrs. Morris in San Diego and surprising her with this book. She has taught me many things and sharing a book I love with all of you seemed like a perfect gift for a librarian!

    I identified with all of your reflections. Ivan and his friends made me both laugh and cry.

    I look forward to reading other books you recommend. I have two recommendations.

    Hatchet by Gary Paulsen is an adventure story about a boy who gets stranded in the wilds of Alaska.It’s an action/adventure books that students have loved here for many years. He is one of my favorite authors.

    Another book is a new book called Wonder by RJ Palacio. It’s the story of a boy who has some severe health issues and now that he’s feeling better, he can go to school.

    The problem is that Auggie is 10 and has never been to school before. Some people aren’t so nice to him. Auggie helps everyone learn about kindness.

    This post has made my day! Thank you!
    Keep Reading!
    Mrs. Hembree

    • @ Mrs Hembree,

      Thank you for commenting on our
      newest post! I was astonished when I heard Mrs Morris was going to America.

      A book I recommend would be The Lion the
      Witch and the Wardrobe another book i would recommend is The Coming of the Dragon.

      got to go

      from your blogging buddy,


  4. Dear 4KM and 4KJ,

    I really enjoyed reading The One and Only Ivan. I enjoyed it so much that I went to the library at school and asked Mrs Kilfoil if she had it and she did. So I started reading it for my reader and I finished it before the class.

    The book even got to go on a trip to Thailaand with me! I enjoyed all of the book but I thought it was really cool that Ivan could paint.

    Got to go,

    • Dear Soph,

      What an expert comment, just like always! You are an outstanding blogger and you put so much effort into everything you do!

      I really enjoyed reading The One and Only Ivan too. I did see you with the book and you were reading it and finished it before the class. What was your favourite part of it?

      How lucky for the book! Visiting Thailand, now wouldn’t that be an experience for Ivan!

      See you on Monday!
      Your friend,
      Liv 😉

  5. Dear 4KM and 4KJ,

    I apsolutly love the book
    The one and only Ivan And the post too. It’s so good. I like Bob, Stella, Ruby, Julia and ofcorse Ivan. But it was so sad that Stella died. Naughty Mack for not getting the vet!

    I was happy when Ivan arrived at his new home. That was my reflection. What is yours?
    Did you like reading The one and only Ivan? What was your favourite part of the book?

    Well I guess I better go now.

    Bye for now!

    Indi 😎

  6. Dear 4KM and 4KJ,

    Watching Mrs. Hembree’s book trailer for “The One and Only Ivan” carried a powerful message for all…

    “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

    Have you heard yourself or someone else talk about what they want to be when they grow up?

    For me, from the age of 7, I wanted to be a teacher. In high school I started collecting materials I thought might be useful. It was the way things ought to be and what I wanted to achieve but was that all?

    What do I want to be when I grow up? I am grown up but I will rephrase the question. What do I want to be?

    No matter what you achieve in your life, there is still a place to dream of what you might be.

    I would like to be a children’s writer.
    I would like to support young artistically or educationally talented people and help them further their dreams.
    I would like to write music, paint beautiful pictures, take the perfect photo, discover something not yet discovered, make a positive difference in the lives of as many people as possible…

    I could go on but I think you get the idea. I’ve been able to achieve these goals in at least some limited ways but I still ask myself, what do I want to be?

    Keep your hearts and minds open and ask yourself what you might like to be. It’s never too late. 🙂

    Teacher, NSW, Australia

    • @RossMannell,

      What a very long and appreciative comment!

      I have indeed heard someone talk about what they want to be when they grow up. I talk about it all the time to my family.

      I’m not sure what I am going to be… but I would like to have to do something with animals. Like a zoo keeper, veterinary or a place where people buy animals.

      I loved the One and Only Ivan.

      Your Blogging Buddy,


      :mrgreen: 😀 😳

  7. Dear 4KM&4KJ
    it is a good post abowt the The One and Only Ivan it is a grate book evey one love it I
    love the book evey in 4KM&4KJ love The One and Only Ivan and
    Your Blogging Buddy from Ethan

  8. Dear 4KM and 4KJ,

    The one and only Ivan was a great book, although I didn’t get to listen to all of the book,so I’m going borrow it from the librarry. It’s really sad to hear that the real Ivan just died recently.

    My favourite part of the book was when I heard Ivan throws me-balls.

    From your pal,
    Olivia Y

  9. HI Everyone,
    I’m Courtney and I am reading the ” One and only Ivan Book as well” by Katherine Applegate. I’m reading it because I am a big fan of Apes especially Gorillas!!
    I love the book because it is a true story.
    Please come to our class Blog!!
    Here’s the address:
    Please come to our Blog!! We have put a lot of work we have been doing in class on our Blog as well.


    • Dear Courtney,

      I am Georgia. I am a student of Mrs Morris, and I am in grade four.

      I am a fan of gorillas too! They are one of my favourite animals.

      I like it too because it is a real story. Did you know that about a week ago, the real life Ivan died. I think that is very sad.

      I just went on your blog and I love it! I think you put a heap of work into your blog and it is very neat.

      Here are some questions for you…

      1. What country do you live in?
      I live in Australia.

      2. Are you a teacher or a student?
      I am a student.

      From your blogging pal,


      P.S Thank you for the marvelous comment! 😀

  10. Hi Georgia,
    Thank you for your questions:
    I live in Australia
    I am also a student as well.
    Thank you for visiting our Blog as well!!
    That’s very sad that the real Ivan died a week ago!
    I am in grade 6
    Great to hear from you.
    Talk to you soon


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