A Sick Day for Amos McGee

A Sick Day for Amos McGee


Stead, Philip. 2010. A SICK DAY FOR AMOS MCGEE.    Ill. by Erin E. Stead. New York, NY: Roaring Brook Press. ISBN 9781596434028.

Plot Summary

Amos McGee’s life is all about routine from his daily breakfast of oatmeal and tea, to his duties as the friendly zookeeper. Amos spends part of his day amongst friends, playing chess with the elephant, sitting quietly with the shy penguin, and running races with the tortoise, who always wins. When Amos gets a cold one day, his animal friends travel by bus to spend the day taking care of him, with the same concern and compassion that Amos showers upon them each day.

Critical Analysis

Philip Stead creates endearing characters in Amos and the animals who will resonate with children, and his gentle humor helps move the story along. His simple story about friendship and caring is sure to be a favorite with children.

The muted colors of the woodblock prints convey a soothing comfort that comes with routine. Erin Stead uses simple black and white drawings to provide a clean background and combines them with subtle colors to make the characters come alive throughout the story.

The animal theme extends beyond the zoo to items in Amos’ home: bunny slippers, a peacock feather blanket, and a cuddly teddy bear. Similarly, the animals take on human characteristics such as the rhinoceros wearing a bright red scarf with a runny nose, and the owl wearing  horn rimmed glasses with a book tucked under his wing.

Review Excerpt(s)

SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL – “If you want to give a child a book that will remain with them always … this is the one that you want. Marvelous.”

Starred review in KIRKUS REVIEWS – “This gentle, ultimately warm story acknowledges the care and reciprocity behind all good friendships.”

Starred review in PUBLISHERS WEEKLY – “Every face—Amos’s as well as the animals’—brims with personality.”


Caldecott Medal, An ALA Notable Best Book, Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year


  • Invite children to draw a picture about a way they care for a relative, friend, or pet.
  • Explore Erin Stead’s step-by-step process in creating the illustrations, with a visit to her Web site at http://blog.erinstead.com/2009/04/here-is-how-i-make-picture-slightly.html
  • Have children make a get well card for a friend or family member who is sick, or could use some cheering up.
  • Explore other books about friendship including the George and Martha books, by James Marshall, Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann, and Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey.

Image: Amazon.


About libraryloverleslie

I love libraries and books, most especially those for children and young adults. I’m a Children’s Librarian in the Pacific Northwest...living the dream!
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