Amos McGee may be a geezer, but he’s a content one—serene, if a bit pensive. Amos is a zookeeper and a friend to his charges. He plays chess with the elephant, sits quietly with the shy penguin and ministers to the nasal products of the rhinoceros’ allergies. When he must stay home one day with the sniffles, his chums take the bus to his residence and do unto him, in sweet reciprocation, what he has done unto them. The story is pared down to Zen simplicity, as friendship ought to be. In counterpoint, the artwork wows. The woodblock foundations carry forward the elemental ease of the story, but Erin Stead’s exquisite, fine-line pencil work invests every character—human and animal—with wonderful personality. “I wanted to write a story specifically for my wife, Erin,” says Philip Stead. “Nobody draws animals—especially elephants!—quite like Erin. She also has a remarkable ability to illustrate small, but meaningful moments within a larger story. Amos McGee became just that, one- and two-page stories—small but meaningful moments—that add up to a complete story of friendship and devotion.”
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A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Philip C. Stead; illustrated by Erin E. Stead
Roaring Brook / May / 9781596434028 / $16.99 / ages 3-7