Sandy reviews: Ida, Always

I love reviewing books. I know lots of authors don’t feel the same and some even feel it’s not appropriate. You can find more about what I think here. I read lots of children’s books. I believe staying in the zone it’s an essential part of being a children’s author. Not everyone agrees with that either. I blogged about that here. But what everyone does agree on, is it’s important to support each other. So if I’m going to read, I’m going to review and support.

This Sandy Reviews series of posts is a retrospective of some of my favourite reviews from 2017.

Ida, Always – Caron Levis and Charles Santoso

This is the story of Gus and Ida, who live together in a big city zoo. They play all day and at night, they sleep in their separate caves.

The city noises surround them. Buses rumble, taxis honk, pigeons coo, people call to each other and children laugh. When Gus wishes he could see it all, Ida tells him it’s the city’s heartbeat, that it’s always there.

“You don’t have to see it to feel it,” said Ida. “Listen.”

One morning, Ida doesn’t emerge from her cave. She’s sick and the zookeeper explains Ida will never get better. The two bears spend their last days together and when Ida is gone, Gus remembers her words and listens.

The sidewalks tap and the streets hum. Gus’s heart beats. And Ida is right there. Always.

The soft illustrations convey a gamut of emotion. Gus and Ida laugh and love; they growl in frustration and find acceptance.

Ida, Always is a sad story, with an uplifting and realistic ending. It needs to be read with caution, care and comfort. It is also an important story, one that reflects the end of a much-loved life in a way young readers will understand.

An invaluable resource for children dealing with grief. For ages 4 to 8.

4.5 stars

[This review first appeared in the children’s Funday Supplement of the Sunday Telegraph on 8 January 2017]

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