Author, Philip C. Stead, and Illustrator, Erin E. Stead won the Caldecott Award – 2011 with this beautiful and delightful book, their first book done together, yet certainly not their first book. The illustrations won the award, but the story is perfectly suited for riding alongside these incredibly detailed and colorful drawings.
It is a simple story about friendship and caring. Amos McGee, the zookeeper, takes extra care of his zoo animals, spending time and doing special things with each one to bring out the best in that particular animal and friend. When Amos McGee becomes sick one day and cannot make it into the zoo, his animal buddies wonder where he is and worry about him. They miss him terribly and decide to go see what has kept him home. From there, the story takes a sweet turn when the animals take care of him, reversing the roles.
The main characters are Amos, of course, an elephant, a tortoise, a penguin, a rhinoceros, and an owl. They each have their quirky personality traits, firstly seen in the zoo, and then appearing at Amos’ home where they play out in the cutest ways. The drawings are so much a part of this story that it may take a bit longer to read unless, of course, your children just need to read the book through to get to the ending.
This is a children’s book, but adults will find themselves reading it again without the kids just to spend plenty of time looking at the fine detail of Mrs. Stead’s drawings. They are wonderfully expressive and a delight!
This books has won a mighty share of Awards:
Caldecott Medal Winner
ALSC Notable Children’s Book
Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of 2010
NYPL Book for Reading and Sharing
Charlotte Zolotow Award/Honor Book
Capitol Choices Noteworthy Titles for Children and Teens
CPL: Chicago Public Library Best of the Best
Wisconsin Educational Media Association Golden Archer Award Master List
Reading Level: Ages 2-6/Preschool to first grade
I invite you to spend time at the Stead’s websites as well. This may have been their first book done together, but they each have a fine array of books to their individual names. They are both artists and share some of their drawings on these sites:
Author Biography from the book:
“Philip Stead is the author of “A Sick Day for Amos McGee” which was awarded the Caldecott Medal, New York Times Best Illustrated Book, and Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of 2010. Stead also wrote, “Creamed Tuna Fish and Peas on Toast” which was recognized by the School Library Journal for it wry humor and illustrations. Philip’s wife, Erin illustrates his books (as well as another author). They reside together in Ann Arbor, Michigan.”
Hardcover: 32 pages
Author:Philip C. Stead
Illustrated: Erin E. Stead
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press/A Neal Porter Book, (a Division of Holtzbrinck Publishing/MacMillan)
Publication: May 2010, First Edition
Picture Book9 1/4 x 8 1/2 inches
Full-color illustrations throughout
Originally posted on former site – 8/11/2013