Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ida, Always by Caron Levis and Charles Santoso

Oddly I am going to tell you to begin by reading the back cover of this utterly exquisite picture book Ida, Always.

"I am in awe of this wise, endearing, tender, and beautiful - so very beautiful - book, which is sure to become a classic of children's literature ... the words and pictures meld perfectly to explore the emotional journey of love and loss, 
breaking your heart and then beginning to mend it."
Judith Viorst

Read this comment slowly again.  Meld is the perfect word to describe the way the gentle illustrations and text work together.  The emotional journey of Gus is the heart of this tender story.  The way a broken heart can mend is the important message of hope you will find at the end.

Gus and Ida live in the zoo in Central Park in the busy New York city. The story is based on two real polar bears who did really live in this zoo.  One day Ida does not emerge from her night den.  The keeper explains to Gus that Ida is ill and may die soon.

I love this moment of humour in the face of their deep sadness :

"Wherever I go' said Ida, 'I  bet I'll always smell your fishy breath.'  That made Gus smile.  He wasn't sure if he should. But Ida was giggling, too."

The topic of this book is a difficult one.  Here is a pinterest collection of other books to explore from my friend at Kinderbooks.  Here is a teaching guide from the author web site.

This is a difficult story to tell for both children and adults, but “Ida, Always” does it with simplicity and grace.

1 comment:

kinderbooks said...

I'm so glad you could see past the topic and appreciate this book for all it's wonderful language, emotion and feeling. I love this book!