A Sick Day for Amos McGee
By: Philip C. Stead
A sick day for amos mcgee.jpg
Book Review by: Lindsay Gagnon

Bibliographical Information:
Title: A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Author: Phillip C. Stead
Illustrator: Erin E. Stead
ISBN: 9781596434028
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: May 25, 2010
Pages: 32
Ages: 4-8


The book A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Phillip C. Stead is about a man named Amos McGee. Amos is a man who is very punctual and he gets up, gets ready, and heads over to the city zoo everyday at the same time. Amos makes sure to visit all of his good friends at the zoo everyday such as the elephant, the tortoise, the penguin, the rhinoceros, and the owl. He makes sure to give them all the attention and care they need except one day, Amos wakes up with a terrible cold and cannot make it to the zoo. His animal friends worry about him because they are used to seeing him every single day so they all decide to hop on a bus and head to Amos’s house to take care of him for once. Each animal does everything they can to help their friend recover from his cold and Amos feels very thankful.


I have never heard of the book A Sick Day for Amos McGee before but after researching this book a bit, I think it is a great book for young students to read. This book teaches students that even the most hardworking and reliable people need a day off sometimes and conveys a message that you should return kind gestures to those who are kind to you and to those who might be in need. This book not only has a great moral but the illustrations in the book are very unique in that instead of using bright and vibrant colors, the illustrator used a lot of more subdued watercolors which I think enhanced the readers experience of the book and made it looks very authentic and engaging. Finally, there are many different ways that an educator could utilize this book in the classroom when trying to teach students different lessons which is always a great attribute for a children’s book to have.

Author Bio:

Philip C Stead is the author of A Sick Day for Amos McGee as well as about eight other books. He writes the children’s books and his wife Erin E Stead illustrates them. Stead’s book A Sick Day for Amos McGee was nominated for and won the Caldecott Medal. He was also named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2010 as well as a Publisher’s Weekly Best Children’s Book of 2010. Philip is also an artist and he illustrated his book Creamed Tuna Fish and Peas on Toast on his own. Philip C Stead and his wife Erin E Stead currently live in Ann Arbor, Michigan where they have a few more children’s books in the works.

Analysis of a Literary Element:

I believe that it is very important for children’s books to contain at least one if not a couple different theme’s or messages that the author is trying to portray to the readers. These morals are very important lessons for children to learn and Philip C Stead’s book A Sick Day for Amos McGee has one or two very important themes embedded within the story. For example, one theme that I was able to clearly pick up on in this book is that of how much friendships should be cherished. For example, in the story, Amos cherishes his animal friends at the zoo so much that he is willing to go there every morning and help each one individually. He sits quietly with his very shy penguin friend so that he has company, Amos runs a race against the tortoise and makes sure that the tortoise never loses, and many more examples. His friends also cherish him a lot which is shown when all the animals get on a bus to visit Amos and keep him company while he’s sick at home. Finally, one more theme I was able to pick up on was that the dedication that must be put into being a good friend is well-worth all of the time it takes. For example, Amos is always there and is a reliable friend to the animals at the zoo every single day which may take up a lot of time, but as soon as Amos was in need of a friend or two to help him when he was sick, all of his animal friends were there for him as soon as possible. Amos’s effort that he puts into his friendships was nicely returned when he needed it. These themes are very important messages for young children to hear and absorb so that they may try to model themselves after Amos as they get older. This particular feature really contributes a lot to this book and makes it of very good quality as well as very deserving of the Caldecott Medal. It is a book that does not take much to get students engaged in and it is able to send wholesome messages to its readers.

Related Links:

- Click on this link to find a read aloud version of this great book for children to read along with. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCr1wtTZsTE

- This link is a great idea for an activity that a teacher can have students complete in the classroom that goes along with this book. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/166985098653696818/