The One and Only Ivan

Katherine Applegate

Ivan, the gorilla, has spent over nine thousand days alone in his domain, a circus-themed mall, home to his friends Stella, the elephant, and Bob, the dog. When a new attraction, a baby elephant named Ruby, arrives on the scene, Ivan must use his skills as an artist to save Ruby and his other friends from life at the mall and prove to himself that he is the One and Only Ivan.

Question 1 - Ivan mentions at the beginning of the book that we are all great apes, interconnected and mistrustful family members that have to learn how to live with each other. According to the Bible, what makes humans more than simple animals, and how does this impact the way we view reality?

Discussion Guide - Read Genesis 1:26-28. Discuss how humans have been created and how being made in God’s image separates humans from the rest of creation.

Question 2 - Throughout the book, there is a theme of protecting others. Ivan is always seeking to protect his friends. What does the Bible say about looking out for the interest of others?

Discussion Guide - Read Philippians 2:1-4. Discuss how the commands in these verses relate to the theme of protecting others by looking out for their interests.

Question 3 - In the story, Mack mistreats most of the animals under his care. But, in his eyes, they’re ruining his life by not making him any money. According to the biblical worldview, what are humans’ responsibilities toward animals?

Discussion Guide - Read Genesis 1:26-31 and Psalm 8. Discuss how God has given humans the responsibility of stewarding (caring for) creation. Discuss how this relates to how we treat animals.

Bonus Question - If your child has gone through Foundation Comparative Worldview Curriculum, revisit Ivan’s quote about how we are all great apes and interconnected. Ask, “What evidence is there in the world around us that we did not get here accidentally through blind, unguided evolution?”

Discussion Guide - Discuss how the incredible amount of information found in DNA points to a designer. You can revisit the Scrabble Scramble game from Unit 3, Lesson 2.

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