A Sick Day for Amos McGee
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A Sick Day for Amos McGee

4.6 18
by Philip C. Stead, Erin Stead
     
 

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THE BEST SICK DAY EVER and the animals in the zoo feature in this striking picture book debut.

Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In Amos McGee's case, all sorts of species, too! Every day he spends a little bit of time with each of his friends at the zoo, running races with the tortoise, keeping the shy penguin company, and even reading bedtime

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Overview

THE BEST SICK DAY EVER and the animals in the zoo feature in this striking picture book debut.

Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In Amos McGee's case, all sorts of species, too! Every day he spends a little bit of time with each of his friends at the zoo, running races with the tortoise, keeping the shy penguin company, and even reading bedtime stories to the owl. But when Amos is too sick to make it to the zoo, his animal friends decide it's time they returned the favor.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee is the winner of the 2011 Caldecott Medal.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With quiet affection, this husband-and-wife team tells the story of a zookeeper whose devotion is repaid when he falls ill. On most days, the angular, elderly Amos rides the bus to the zoo, plays chess with the elephant ("who thought and thought before making a move"), sits quietly with the penguin, and spends time with his other animal friends. But when Amos catches a cold, the animals ride the bus to pay him a visit, each, in a charming turnabout, doing for Amos whatever he usually does for them. The elephant sets up the chessboard; the shy penguin sits on the bed, "keeping Amos's feet warm." Newcomer Erin Stead's elegant woodblock prints, breathtaking in their delicacy, contribute to the story's tranquility and draw subtle elements to viewers' attention: the grain of the woodblocks themselves, Amos's handsome peacock feather coverlet. Every face--Amos's as well as the animals'--brims with personality. Philip Stead's (Creamed Tuna Fish and Peas on Toast) narrative moves with deliberate speed, dreaming up a joyous life for the sort of man likely to be passed on the street without a thought. Ages 2–6. (June)
From the Publisher
"Observant readers will notice tiny surprises hidden in plain sight: a red balloon, a tiny mouse and sparrow popping up here and there in the story. Erin E. Stead, the illustrator, overlays her pencil sketches with gentle tones of pink, peach, blue and green, and bright red spots that belie the deceptive ordinariness of the text." –The New York Times Book Review

“Thick, creamy paper and a muted palette add to the gentle resonance of a story that ends with everyone tucked in at last for a sweet night's sleep.” –Washington Post

“It's hard to believe that this is Erin Stead's first children's book-her woodcut and oil-ink artwork is so warmly appealing that she seems like an old pro.” —Time Out New York Kids

Here is a book that exemplifies that happy combination where words and pictures carry equal weight and yet somehow create a whole that defies arithmetic.” —BookPage

“Newcomer Erin Stead's elegant woodblock prints, breathtaking in their delicacy, contribute to the story's tranquility and draw subtle elements to viewers' attention.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

"Erin E. Stead’s beautifully wrought woodblock prints and pencil work create almost painfully expressive characters...This gentle, ultimately warm story acknowledges the care and reciprocity behind all good friendships." —Kirkus Reviews, STARRED review

"Erin Stead's attentively detailed pencil and woodblock illustrations reveal character and enhance the cozy mood of Philip Stead's gentle text." —Horn Book Magazine

“Whether read individually or shared, this gentle story will resonate with youngsters.” —School Library Journal

"Like the story, the quiet pictures, rendered in pencil and woodblock color prints, are both tender and hilarious… The extension of the familiar pet-bonding theme will have great appeal, especially in the final images of the wild creatures snuggled up with Amos in his cozy home.” —Booklist

"If you want to give a child a book that will remain with them always (and lead to decades of folks growing up and desperately trying to relocate it with the children’s librarians of the future) this is the one that you want. Marvelous." — Fuse # 8 blog

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Beyond his usual work as zookeeper, Amos McGee always finds time for his animal friends: playing chess with the elephant, racing with a turtle, sitting quietly with a shy penguin, wiping the rhino's runny nose, and reading to the owl. One day, waking with a bad cold, he decides to stay home. His animal friends await him in vain and wonder. Later they gather, ride the bus, and, bearing a red balloon, delight Amos with a visit. As they play together, Amos feels well enough to get up and share a pot of tea. Remembering that they all must catch an early bus the next morning, they bed down peacefully for the night. The story is told simply but in rich detail and with the sly humor of the imaginative premise. It is visualized in woodblock prints and gentle pencil drawings with subtle occasional touches of transparent colors. Added details include the penguin's red socks, a tiny, sign-carrying mouse, and a small monkey up a tree. The naturalistic animals and keeper dominate the double-page scenes with a few props like an old-fashioned brass bed and stove. Observing the group having tea in china cups is a delight. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Amos McGee, an elderly man who works at the zoo, finds time each day for five special friends. With empathy and understanding he gives the elephant, tortoise, penguin, rhinoceros, and owl the attention they need. One morning, Amos wakes up with a bad cold and stays home in bed. His friends wait patiently and then leave the zoo to visit him. Their trip mirrors his daily bus ride to the zoo and spans three nearly wordless spreads. Amos, sitting up in bed, clasps his hands in delight when his friends arrive. The elephant plays chess with him, and the tortoise plays hide-and-seek. The penguin keeps Amos's feet warm, while the rhinoceros offers a handkerchief when Amos sneezes. They all share a pot of tea. Then the owl, knowing that Amos is afraid of the dark, reads a bedtime story as the other animals listen. They all sleep in Amos's room the rest of the night. The artwork in this quiet tale of good deeds rewarded uses woodblock-printing techniques, soft flat colors, and occasional bits of red. Illustrations are positioned on the white space to move the tale along and underscore the bonds of friendship and loyalty. Whether read individually or shared, this gentle story will resonate with youngsters.—Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN
Kirkus Reviews
Amos McGee, an elderly zookeeper, enjoys a clockwork life (one teaspoonful of sugar for oatmeal, two for tea and the number five bus to work) until the sniffles force him to stay in bed and miss his daily visits with animal friends. Fragile, gangly Amos, in striped pajamas and ill-fitting zoo uniform, appears as crushingly vulnerable as a child. Children will immediately like and understand him, as they too take comfort in reassuring routines-and would certainly love playing chess with an elephant or running races with a tortoise! Muted greens, browns and blues dominate pages, while brighter yellows and reds leaven the palette's mild melancholy. Erin E. Stead's beautifully wrought woodblock prints and pencil work create almost painfully expressive characters. Wrinkles and crinkles describe the elephant's sagging mass and the rhino's girth, as well as their keen sensitivity. Owl's furrowed brow communicates deep concern even as the group heads to Amos's home to check on him. This gentle, ultimately warm story acknowledges the care and reciprocity behind all good friendships: Much like Amos's watch, they must be wound regularly to remain true. (Picture book. 2-6)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596434028
Publisher:
Roaring Brook Press
Publication date:
05/25/2010
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
38,158
Product dimensions:
9.40(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
AD760L (what's this?)
Age Range:
2 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

Philip C. Stead and Erin E. Stead won the Caldecott Medal for A Sick Day for Amos McGee, their first book together. Philip is also the author and illustrator of Creamed Tuna Fish and Peas on Toast. They divide their time between Ann Arbor, Michigan, and New York City.

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