"Gently paced, with moving but reassuring images, this is an age-appropriate introduction to the issues of captivity and animal welfare."
"Using pencilline drawing and washes of pastel, Karas feelingly depicts Ivan’s gentle and loving personality conveying how this gentle gorilla won the hearts of thousands of people—and readers."
"Karas's darkly hued, smudgy illustrations complement the tone of the narrative and convey the sense of loneliness and isolation that marked the gorilla's existence."
—School Library Journal
"The spareness of both text and pictures invites readers to find their own meaning in the moving story."
—Horn Book Magazine
"Karas's muted illustrations capably reflect the contrasts between Ivan's happy early life in Africa, his gloomy years in captivity, and his eventual transfer to a new home."
“Applegate's spare text gives readers just enough grounding to follow Ivan's journey, while Karas's artwork fills in Ivan's emotional life through the gorilla's engaged expressions and body language--no image more triumphant than Ivan's release into Zoo Atlanta. A heartfelt tribute to a magnificent animal.”
—Shelf Awareness, starred review
"The text is streamlined but powerful, and younger kids who aren’t up for the linguistic and emotional challenges of Applegate’s fictional account of Ivan will find this a thoughtful and intriguing introduction; older readers who have read The One and Only Ivan may enjoy it as well."