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Author: Philip Christian Stead

Illustrator: Erin E. Stead

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Publisher: A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Book Press,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Each morning, Amos McGee boards bus five and goes to the City Zoo, where he cares for the animals. As he makes his rounds, Amos visits with each of his friends, giving each one just what they need: Amos and the elephant chess and he races the tortoise, who always wins. Because the penguin is shy, Amos sits quietly with him; and he gives the rhinoceros his handkerchief for his runny nose. At the end of the day, Amos reads stories to the owl, who is afraid of the dark. When Amos didn't come to work one day, the animals were sad. They missed him, so they went to the bus stop and and boarded the #5 bus to Amos' house. Amos was happy to see them, and enjoyed the afternoon playing chess,things his friends did for him. The elephant set up a game of chess. The tortoise hid in his shell to play hide and seek, since Amos was too tired to race. The penguin kept Amos' feet warm while he took a nap, and the rhinoceros was ready with a handkerchief when Amos sneezed, and just before they turned out the lights, the owl read a story. This is a quiet, soft story of friendship and caring.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, read aloud book, learning to read

Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 8; read yourself: 5 to 9

Interest Level: 3 to 8

Reading Level: 2.3

Age of Child: Read with an 8-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: Hyped when we started the book, my daughter was very calm as we moved through it. She liked that Amos gave the rhino his handkerchief, thought the penguin was "adorable," and loved when the all went to bed together at the end.

Adult Reader Reaction: This is a lovely, quiet little book. The text is minimal, allowing the illustrations to tell the story just as well. This could easily be used as a wordless book. On many of the pages, there is a red balloon, a mouse, and/or bird. They are not mentioned in the story, but if you're creating your own story, they can definitely play a part.

Pros: Beautiful illustrations and some good friends make this a lovely bedtime story.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a beautiful book that has that classic look and feel to it. It will be the centerpiece of bedtime story memories for many years.


Educational Themes: A Sick Day for Amos McGee is more than a story about friendship. Although the emphasis is his relationship with the animals, the book opens with his routine for preparing to go to work. Amos respects each animal as an individual and comforts them according to their needs. When Amos got sick, each animal stretched beyond their fear to help Amos. There are many repeated phrases and the illustrations offer the decoding new readers need for trying bigger vocabulary.

Notes: The Reading Tub reviewed a pre-release edition of this book.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, animal characters, friendship

Date(s) Reviewed: March 2010

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