Early each morning the elderly Amos McGee rises to meet the day and catch the 6 a.m. bus to the city zoo. While at work, the zookeeper spends time with his animal friends– playing chess with the elephant, racing the tortoise, wiping the rhino’s nose, sitting with a penguin, and reading to an owl. One day Amos feels too sick to go to work so the animals take the bus to his home and repay his kindness in return.
A Sick Day for Amos McGee, the Caldecott Medal Book for 2010, is written and illustrated by a husband and wife team. A Sick Day for Amos McGee, the Caldecott Medal Book for 2010, is written and illustrated by a husband and wife team. Erin Stead, the illustrator, uses woodblocks to stamp soft-colored images onto the page and then writes over them with pencil. At first glance, the illustrations convey simplicity and peacefulness–a perfect complement to the text. Yet, as the reader lingers over each picture, delightful details emerge. At first glance, the illustrations convey simplicity and peacefulness-–a perfect complement to the text. Yet, as the reader lingers over each picture, delightful details emerge.
Philip Stead has written an equally charming story about an elderly gentleman, Amos McGee, who despite living alone, greets the day with enthusiasm. He follows the same cheerful routine each morning–swinging out of bed, dressing in crisp clothing, preparing his oatmeal and tea, and catching the morning bus. Rather than lamenting his loneliness, he senses the needs of each animal and delights in doing what makes them happy.
This sweet story exudes respect for the elderly and provides a wonderful example of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Fans of Cynthia Rylant’s Mr. Putter & Tabby series will find room in their hearts for Amos McGee, too.
This book has an immediate appeal that I believe will stand the test of time and be loved by generations of readers. I don’t have any grandchildren yet, but I’m fantasizing about cuddling with one and sharing this sweet story.
Highly recommended for grades preschool-grade 2.
Awards: Caldecott Medal Winner-2011; Notable Books of the Year-2010 (Best Illustrated–Child’s); Notable Children’s Books 2010–Young readers; NYPL Book for Reading and Sharing; Charlotte Zolotow Award/Honor Book; Chicago Public Library Best of the Best.
From the Christian Library Journal (June 2011); used with permission.