Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Summary: Gus and Ida are polar bears who live in a park in the middle of a huge city. Every day the play, swim, and eat together. Ida can’t see, but she tells Gus that she doesn’t have to see the city to feel it. At night, each bear goes to his or her own cave to sleep. Every day is the same until one morning when Ida doesn’t come out of her cave. Sonya the zookeeper tells Gus that Ida is sick and she isn’t going to get better. Gus and Ida still have some time together. Some days Ida can play, but other days she has to rest. Each night before sleeping, the two bears tell each other they will miss the other one. Finally, one morning, with Gus at her side, Ida passes away. Gus continues to enjoy each day, but never forgets his good friend. A brief author’s note tells of the real Ida and Gus who lived in New York City’s Central Park Zoo. 40 pages; ages 4-8.
Pros: A beautiful story of love and loss, exploring terminal illness and death in a way that will be accessible to preschoolers and early elementary age readers.
Cons: Good luck reading this one out loud. Keep the Kleenexes handy.