With friends like these, who needs people?

I’d never heard of this book until my favorite book-store staff member in my favorite book store showed it to me.  I was in love at once.  It’s a simple story that’s full of character, love, and friendship.  And how to take care of each other.  In very few words, this book tells more than many books with thousands of them.

Title: A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Author: Philip C. Stead
Illustrator
: Erin E. Stead
Genre
: Picture Book
Age: 0 – 7

Summary and Review:

Amos is an elderly man.  Not your typical hero for a picture book, but it definitely works.  Amos is on his way to the zoo, where he spends much of his time (presumably he is working at the zoo at other times) taking care of the animals–sitting with the penguin, racing the tortoise, reading with the owl.  But when Amos is sick one day and unable to go to work, the animals don’t know what to do.  So in a series of wordless pages that reminds me of the sequence in “Goodnight, Gorilla” when the animals follow the zookeeper to his house, the animals ride the bus to Amos’s house to take care of him just like he takes care of them.  The illustrations are charming, if not hysterical, and the whole book just makes you want to smile and find someone to hug.

Possible conversations to have with your kids:

The friendship theme is obvious, but I think a great conversation would be to talk about the different animals and why they each like different things.  Why, for example, does the penguin like to sit still?  Why does the owl like to read?  Why does he read to the owl at the end of the day when dusk is coming instead of in the middle of the day?  By focusing on the different animals and their characteristics, you can talk both about the biology and natural habits and habitats of these animals, as well as how these animals tend to be portrayed by humans who write them in literature.

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