Friday, April 1, 2011

Caldecott Pick #2: A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead, Illustrated by Erin E. Stead

"Amos McGee was an early riser..."

This 2011 Caldecott Medal winner has become an instant favorite for me, sure to be added to my personal collection for my future children and grandchildren. Not only are the drawings absolutely stunning and original, there's something about the story and the pictures that makes me feel at home. Maybe it's the familiar feeling of being home sick for a day and wanting nothing but to be taken care of by those who love me, or maybe it's the imaginative idea of all creatures, big and small, "scary" or cuddly, having a unique personality. 

Amos McGee has a job that almost every child, at some point in their childhood or adolescence, dreams of having--he is a zookeeper at the City Zoo. Amos' routine is simple: he wakes at early dawn, prepares himself a hearty, warm breakfast, dresses in his zookeeper uniform, and catches the number five bus to the zoo. However, once Amos reaches the zoo, although he has "a lot to do at the zoo," he takes time to visit his animal pals. Author and illustrators Philip and Erin Stead portray Amos playing chess with the elephant, sitting quietly with the bashful penguin, and reading stories to the owl who is afraid of the dark.

So what happens when Amos wakes with "the sniffles," unable to make it in to work? Well (of course) his zoo friends, lonely and wondering where Amos is, decided to hop on the number five bus and pay him a visit! They spend the day keeping Amos company, playing chess, hide and seek, and ending the day with a lovely bedtime story.

I highly recommend reading this story, both for yourself and your kids. It would certainly make a great story to share together on a sick day when your little one is feeling blue :)

5Q: Very deserving of the Caldecott--gorgeous pictures an endearing, imaginative set of characters that are relational, and a unique, easy-to-follow storyline.
5P: I don't know much about elementary-level reading circles, but I'd wager that this book is and is going to continue to be a huge hit among kids, teachers, parents, and librarians alike. The story will stand the test of time, and the pictures are irresistible.

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