Review of The One and Only Ruby, by Katherine Applegate

The One and Only Ruby

by Katherine Applegate
illustrated by Patricia Castelao

Harper, 2023. 217 pages.
Starred Review

Katherine Applegate has done it again! She’s written a third book about The One and Only Ivan and his friends. This one features Ruby, the little elephant whom Ivan resolved to protect, and the reason everything changed for them.

In this book, Ruby’s tusks are growing out, and the other elephants in her herd at the Park are teasing her and getting her ready to celebrate her Tuskday.

But Ruby has complicated emotions about growing tusks. In this book, we get her story, back in Africa, of when her mother was killed for her tusks, and what happened to Ruby afterward.

I wasn’t as enchanted by the voice of this book as I was with Ivan’s story, which I could easily believe was a gorilla talking, and a gorilla who’d heard lots of television. I’m not quite sure how Ruby’s vocabulary got so big, but her story was moving. And we did come to understand how mixed her emotions would be about growing up.

Once again, this will motivate young animal lovers to want to help, while entertaining them in the company of long-time friends.

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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