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A Sick Day for Amos McGee


Timeless classic would be an apt description for “A Sick Day for Amos McGee”, a wonderfully appealing children’s book published by Roaring Brook Press. The creative team of writer Phillip C. Stead and illustrator Erin E. Stead breathe life into the world of Amos McGee, an elderly zookeeper who benevolently provides empathy and understanding to his special friends at the zoo each and every day.

How’s the Story?

The loving attention to detail given to both story and artwork jumps out from every page into the readers heart. “A Sick Day for Amos McGee” provides many lessons for children such as selfless acts of kindness, empathy for others, friendship, acceptance and joy. Amos, as well as his friends, the animals, are all drawn with an emotional depth. You care about each of them and their frailties. One can identify the sentiment evoked by their expressive countenance in the illustrations.

sitting quietly with the penguin (who was very shy), lending a handkerchief to the rhinocerous (who always had a runny nose)

The first half of the book traces the daily routine of the endearing Amos. We discover his modest home, a small blue house sandwiched between buildings as though time has stood still for Amos. We then follow him on his morning commute as he takes the city bus to the Zoo. Upon his arrival there are hints that the Zoo is far from ordinary. We then are privileged to witness the poignant interaction between Amos and his 5 special animal friends.

The second half of the story mirrors Amos McGee’s commute to the Zoo but in reverse. Since Amos is sick, his animal friends travel from the Zoo to see their friend Amos at his home. It’s their turn to take care of a dear friend. Many touching scenes follow adding to the joy and wonder of this modern classic.

Overall Rating: A+

Recommended for age ranges 4 to 7.

Pros: Expressively detailed story and art work. Invaluable lessons about empathy, sharing, friendship and more. An extraordinary addition to Children’s literature that will remain heralded for years to come.

Cons: None. Great book.

For more information about this book and other books published by Roaring Books Press, please visit them online.

Also available for purchase from Amazon:

A Sick Day for Amos McGee

  • Shoebuf

    Love this story. Purchased it at small independent book store after attending a toddler story hour. I informed my son if he behaved during story hour he would earn himself a new book, any book in the store. He was drawn to “A Sick Day for Amos McGee” initially because of the game-playing elephant on the front cover (my son LOVES elephants). As we read the story together my son asked many questions about each animal’s character and identified somehow with each. Like the elephant my son always carefully considers his next game move (we plays checkers not chess). Like the tortoise he always wins every race (at least when racing Mommy). Like the rhino, my son has allergies; hence a runny nose. He tends to be quiet and contempaltive like the penguin and though he denies it is still a wee bit afraid of the dark like the owl. Like Amos, my son is very attentive and considerate of those around him. All around a great story which as you wrote teaches so many invaluable lessons about empathy, friendship and sharing. I believe this story also helped my son realize he is not alone regarding some of his concerns (being shy, runny nose, etc).

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for sharing LV. As you mentioned, the story offers an opportunity to teach many invaluable lessons. Glad you discovered the book as well.

  • LV

    My 4 year old has this book and enjoys describing the pictures it to his little sister. His favorite bit in the story is when all the animals board the city bus to visit Amos. Some of his comments: “But Mommy, elephants are too big to sit on the bus.” “Does the rhino sneeze into his sleeve?” “Can I have a tortoise shell to hide in?” and my favorite “Mommy, it’s okay to be afraid of the dark”.

  • “Timeless Classic” – That was exactly my reaction when we read it. This is a lovely, lovely book. Glad to have found you!

    Here is our review if you’re interested: http://thereadingtub.com/displayBook.asp?id=1942

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for your comment Terry. Finding a great children’s book has the added benefit of inspiring both the parent and child.