7 Books Like The One and Only Ivan

So you read this book by Katherine Applegate, now you’re on the hunt for books like The One and Only Ivan? Welcome!

books like the one and only ivan

Recommending readalikes can be a tricky process, but as I said in the first post in this series, I enjoy the process of finding similar threads running through even books that appear different on the surface. Today’s pick is a popular (and loved) book about a gorilla, that is also now a movie. If you love middle-grade books about animals, you’ll likely enjoy the books on this list.

the one and only ivan

Here’s my readalike criterion: Each book I recommend must have at least three strong similarities with the beloved title. For each recommended book, I’ll also highlight major differences to keep in mind, just in case they might put you off. If you or your kids loved this book, here are more books like The One and Only Ivan.

Ready? Let’s go.

Books Like The One and Only Ivan

Pax

Pax - books like the one and only ivan

Similarities

  • About a boy and his rescued fox
  • Focuses on human and animal interaction
  • The fox, Pax also has adventures of his own

Differences

  • Might be a bit heavier than The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Bob

The One and Only Bob

Similarities

  • Sequel to Ivan
  • Focuses on Bob, another animal from The One and Only Ivan
  • Plenty of human-animal and animal-animal interaction (and a lot of heart!)

I, Cosmo

I, Cosmo - books like the one and only ivan

Similarities

  • Narrated from the dog, Cosmo’s POV
  • Heartwarming story of a boy and his dog
  • Full of heart; possibly a tearjerker (the dog does not die, don’t worry)

Differences

  • Also focuses on family life as Cosmo’s human family is going through a separation

Charlotte’s Web

Charlotte's Web - books like the one and only ivan

Similarities

  • Heartwarming story of a girl and her pig
  • Also focuses on the friendship between spider, Charlotte and the pig Wilbur
  • Sweet, but also heartbreaking
  • Plenty of animal-animal and human-animal interaction

Crenshaw

Crenshaw

Similarities

  • Story about a boy and his large cat (who’s an imaginary friend)
  • Written by the same author
  • Would appeal to kids who enjoy a similar sense of humor in the midst of challenging situations

Differences

  • Tackles the serious subject of homelessness
  • Elements of fantasy with a large imaginary cat friend

The Wild Robot

The Wild Robot

Similarities

  • A robot has to make friends with animals in the wilderness
  • Good dose of mystery
  • Plenty of heart as the robot finds home

Differences

  • Main character is a robot, not animal or human

Freya and Zoose

Freya and Zoose

Similarities

  • A penguin and mouse form an unlikely friendship
  • Full of adventure and heart
  • A good dose of humor as characters try to survive despite challenges

Bonus pick? Look out for Butler’s forthcoming book about a girl, a squirrel, and a raven. I’m obsessed with that cover. It’s out December 29, 2020.

otto p. nudd

Your turn! Which books like The One and Only Ivan would you recommend and why? I’d love to hear from you. Also, I would love your help with this series. Which middle-grade, chapter books, or picture books, or even YA books would you love readalikes for? Let me know!

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books like the one and only ivan

One thought on “7 Books Like The One and Only Ivan

  1. Read alikes is such a great idea Afoma! I wrote a post once about books with grandparents as key characters…I can think of a few MG books with special grandparent relationships….that might be one idea! Or found family.

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