A Sick Day for Amos McGee

What It Is

Amos McGee is an elderly gentleman who lives alone and works at the city zoo. He considers the zoo animals his good friends. Like many creatures in literature, these animals have some human qualities. Amos is a very considerate friend and makes sure he spends quality time with each of them. For instance, he races with the tortoise, and always lets him win, and sits patiently while the elephant ponders each move in chess. One day, Amos wakes up with a cold and is too sick to go to work. The animals wait anxiously for him to arrive, and when he doesn’t, they hop on the city bus to visit him. They nurse him back to health with the same degree of compassion that Amos shows them on a daily basis.

Why It’s Fun

This touching story about friendship is the first collaboration by husband-wife team Philip and Erin Stead and has won numerous awards, including the coveted Caldecott Medal. The tone of the book is as gentle and sweet as Amos himself, and has all the makings of a classic. Mr. Stead delivers an important message about friendship and compassion through his poignant tone. Several of the pages are wordless, giving parents and kids an opportunity to imagine their own verse or ponder what the characters might be thinking. Mrs. Stead’s illustrations are equally as touching and done by woodblock printing, which is a really neat process and can be seen in a brief online demonstration by Mrs. Stead.

Who’s Going To Love It

The sweet spot for this book is the younger end of the publisher’s recommended age range, who will likely want to hang onto this book for years to come. Its shorter length makes it easy to read time and again, and with each reading, the characters become more endearing. It’s a can’t-go-wrong selection at the bookstore or library, and makes a nice gift.

Reading Time

About 3 minutes

Read-It-Again Points

9 out of 10

Book Information

A Sick Day for Amos McGee
By: Philip C. Stead, Illustrated by Erin E. Stead
Published by: Roaring Brook Press (2010)
Approximate retail price: $16.99 hardcover
Publisher’s recommended ages: 2 - 6


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