Wednesday, May 08, 2024

47. The One and Only Family


The One and Only Family. Katherine Applegate. 2024. 272 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: I am Ivan. I'm about to become a dad. I'm hoping it's as easy as it looks.

Premise/plot: The One and Only Ivan is the fourth book in Katherine Applegate's series. Previous titles--as I'm sure many know--include The One and Only Ivan, The One and Only Bob, and The One and Only Ruby. Ivan and his gorilla partner, Kinyani, are going to be parents. This book--written in verse--chronicles Ivan's adventures/misadventures as a dad as "Big Daddy."

My thoughts: I LOVED this one. Is it for kids? Maybe. Maybe not. Is it for adults who read children's books? Almost definitely. Perhaps not exclusively. But The One and Only Ivan has been published for over ten years. He is such a memorable character that readers of all ages may want to read this one. The Ivan books (and sequels) have a timeless feel to them. This one gets VERY reflective and philosophical. I think adults will almost definitely connect with the narration. The writing just resonates at times. So many places I ended up highlighting. I am so glad I read this one.


Look at a gorilla infant's hand. Or a human baby's hand, if you don't happen to have access to a newborn gorilla. Which I suppose is quite likely. How could anything possibly be so small and so perfect? Now extend a finger, the way I am doing, the way every father since the beginning of time has done, and watch the way that tiny hand grabs hold as if it means the difference between life and death. Because perhaps it does. My son is holding on to me. Maybe it is not because of love, or need, or purpose. Maybe the movement is ingrained in a way we can't begin to understand. Perhaps babies hold on to fingers because they must. And perhaps that's all we need to know. 

I have my story. The twins will have theirs. Stories, it seems to me, are living things. Once you set them free, they're like offspring. They have destinies of their own. They're no longer your responsibility. They belong to the world. 


© 2024 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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