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By John Locker. Ivan. This book is a work of fiction, inspired by a true story. The idea of this book is to remind humans certain animals should not be kept in captivity alone. Ivan is a Mighty Silverback gorilla who was captured as an infant in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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Ivan
  • This book is a work of fiction,

inspired by a true story.

  • The idea of this book is to remind

humans certain animals should not be

kept in captivity alone.

  • Ivan is a Mighty Silverback gorilla

who was captured as an infant in the

Democratic Republic of the Congo.

He was sent to the U.S. to be raised as a

pet in a home.

As Ivan grew larger he became “unmanageable” as a

pet and was then housed in a cage at the Big Top Mall.

the exit 8 big top mall and video arcade
The Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade
  • A billboard on I-95 in Washington state advertised this

circus mall and “Ivan the One and Only” was portrayed

as an angry beast. This mall promised circus shows with

elephants and other animals 365 days a year with three

shows at two, four, and seven o’clock.

  • Mack was the owner of the Big Top Mall and Video

Arcade. Ivan grew up in Mack’s house. He used to take

Ivan everywhere with him and dress him up. When Ivan

started breaking things in his house he brought him to live in

the mall, caged up for 27 long years!

stella and ruby
Stella and Ruby
  • Ivan was very close to an elephant named Stella. She always

reminded Ivan there was a better life out there for them. A

place where animals could be with other animals of their own

kind and not abused or locked up.

  • Stella had an infected foot for a very long time. Mack refused to pay for veterinary

care. When she was sick, Mack bought another elephant, Ruby, who was just a baby.

Stella protected and loved Ruby. One day, Stella was dying and had Ivan promise her he

would find a way to get Ruby out of the mall and into a zoo.

  • Stella and Ruby had excellent memories of their past because elephants are gifted with

remembering details. They both told Ivan stories of their beautiful life in the wild. Ivan’s

only memory was of his twin sister, Tag, who he played tag with all the time. Tag died next to

Ivan on the boat trip to the U.S. Ivan had a stuffed gorilla animal in his cage at the mall he named No-Tag

after her.

julia and ivan were artists
Julia and Ivan were Artists
  • George was the mall’s custodian and cleaned the animals cages as

well. George’s daughter, Julia, always went to work with her dad.

She loved drawing, art, and Ivan. Crayons, markers and paper were

often given by Julia to Ivan through a small opening in his glass

cage.

  • Ivan drew pictures of bananas and other things. Mack sold Ivan’s

drawings for $20-$25 a piece. Ivan began hiding his artwork inside

No-Tag to keep them secret from Mack. Ivan made these drawings

to show Julia.

  • Julia played a major role in the release of Ivan and Ruby. Her markers and

paper that ended up in Ivan’s cage enabled him to draw the message of H-O-M-E on

sheets of paper like a puzzle. When Ivan showed Julia, she contacted the local news without telling Mack.

  • The local new spread nationally about “Ivan the One and Only”. Animal rights people protested. Soon animal services were

inspecting the animal’s living conditions at the mall. Maya, a veterinary doctor, declared Ivan and Ruby must go to live in a Zoo.

the zoo atlanta
The Zoo Atlanta
  • The Atlanta Zoo took Ivan and Ruby with open arms. Ruby

was placed with other elephants she could play and run with.

Ivan was given a family of four children and a mother to be a father

to. Ivan was finally happy, a true Mighty Silverback, a family to

love, protect and play tag with. It didn’t take Ivan long to learn

how to climb trees again.

  • I truly enjoyed reading Ivan the One and Only. I was amazed this

was based on a true story! Gorillas are very intelligent animals.

Ivan observed and understood more than most humans gave him credit for.

His artwork gave him a chance to reflect his wishes, thoughts and dreams.

  • Humans have no right to cage certain types of animals in closed conditions and

make a profit off them. Animal cruelty with abuse should be punishable by sending those convicted to jail

for life!

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