Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Sick Day for Amos McGee

Stead, Philip C. 2010. A SICK DAY FOR AMOS MCGEE. Ill. by Erin Stead. New York: Roaring Brook. ISBN 9781596434028 [Suggested Grade Levels K-3]

Amos the elderly zookeeper has a special relationship with several of the animals at the zoo. He plays chess with the elephant, runs races with the tortoise, sits quietly with the shy penguin, helps the rhino with his runny nose, and reads stories to the owl. But when Amos catches a cold and can’t come to the zoo, the animals come to him (on foot, by bus) and keep him company by (what else) playing chess, playing hide and seek (instead of running), napping quietly, handing him a handkerchief, and—or course—reading him a story. Their gentle, if fantastical, friendship is told forthrightly in simple, cyclical text with soft, pencil sketches, woodblock prints, and a spare use of muted color.

This is sure to be a storytime favorite, perfect for reading aloud or simplified readers theater performance. Use simple animal masks or puppets to add visuals. Children can also consider what other activities Amos might do with other animals. For example, he might slide with the snakes, gossip in sign language with the monkeys, etc. Compare this to other picture books about zoo animals and zoo friendships.

Other picture books about the zoo:
Ohara, Zachariah. STOP SNORING, BERNARD. ISBN 978-0805090024
Rose, Debra Lee. BIRTHDAY ZOO. ISBN 978-0807507766
Wilson, Karma. NEVER, EVER SHOUT IN A ZOO. ISBN 978-0316985642

By Sylvia M. Vardell

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