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Author: Levis, Caron
A polar bear grieves over the loss of his companion, based on the real-life Gus and Ida of New York's Central Park Zoo.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 3.30
Points: .5 Quiz: 181736
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: K-2
Reading Level: 2.10
Points: 1.0 Quiz: 67048
Kirkus Reviews (12/01/15)
School Library Journal (01/01/16)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 01/01/2016 Inspired by the true story of a couple of polar bears in Manhattan’s Central Park Zoo, this tender picture book tells the story of two friends, Gus and Ida. They spend every day together, playing ball, chasing each other, and listening to the sounds of the city. But one day, Ida doesn’t come out of her cave. Gus waits and waits, and eventually, zookeeper Sonya comes to explain that Ida is very sick, and she won’t get better. Gus and Ida process the news (“There were growling days and laughing days and days that mixed them up”). Ida spends a lot of time sleeping, and Gus brings her all of her favorite things. And one day, Ida isn’t there anymore. This simple story of bereavement and friendship is made even more affecting by its richly colored, quiet illustrations: double-page spreads show the bears in their enclosure, framed by the New York skyline. On other pages, it’s just Gus and Ida together against a white background. A heartfelt and powerful depiction of loss and recovery. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 01/01/2016 K-Gr 2—Loosely based on Gus and Ida, the polar bears who lived at the Central Park Zoo until Ida's death in 2011 and Gus's death in 2013, this frank yet sensitive work explores loss and affirms the power of friendship. Pals Ida and Gus do everything together, until one day Gus discovers his companion is sick. Zookeeper Sonya explains that though she and the other workers will make sure Ida isn't in any pain, they can't cure her and over time, Ida will eventually weaken and die. While the tone is gentle, Levis is honest about the turmoil and anguish of terminal illness: though Gus and Ida make the most of their moments together, there are days where they feel sad and frustrated and times when both bears need to be alone. The quiet, lyrical text is complemented by the soft, evocative visuals. Digitally rendered, the illustrations have a painterly feel and make effective use of color. The settings—sunsets, overcast days, and, when Ida passes away, a rainy morning—reinforce the mood well. Santoso's design is particularly inspired, with good use of the gutter and perspective. Gus and Ida are cute and have sweetly expressive faces, but they aren't overly anthropomorphized, nor does Santoso play up the adorable factor to gloss over the painful narrative. Although Gus experiences real loss upon Ida's death, the book ends on a hopeful note, emphasizing the strength of the friendship and Gus's memories of Ida. VERDICT A tender and honest portrayal of coming to terms with death.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.