A Sick Day for Amos McGee
by Philip C. Stead
Book Jacket
New York Times Copyright The New York Times Company 9781596434028 IT is generally agreed that humor is subjective. Looking across the recent crop of picture books that specialize in gently absurd comedy, one can imagine grown-ups wondering if kids will get the joke. But that would underestimate even very young children's ability, to appreciate the incongruous, the nonsensical, the flat-out eccentric."A Sick Day for Amos McGee," by Philip C. Stead, is a case in point. It delightfully takes its loony scenario for granted. We meet Amos, a stooped-shouldered older gentleman dressed in a moss-green threepiece suit, getting ready for his day as a zookeeper. With a sweet smile, Amos goes about his daily chores. He plays chess with the delicately shaded pink elephant, lets a tortoise win races and sits with one of the penguins, who is very shy.One day when Amos comes down with a cold, the animals travel to his home to care for their caregiver. Observant readers will notice tiny surprises hidden in plain sight: a red balloon, a tiny mouse and a sparrow popping up here and there in the story. Erin E. Stead, the illustrator, overlays her pencil sketches with gentle tones of pink, peach, blue and green, and bright red spots that belie the deceptive ordinariness of the text.With his new book, "How Rocket Learned to Read," Tad Hills ("Duck & Goose") brings a sweet but not saccharine touch to a common struggle of childhood. Rocket is a fuzzy spotted dog who loves to chase leaves, chew sticks, sniff around the neighborhood and nap. One day a small yellow bird disturbs him. "'Aha! My first student! Wonderful!' she sang. Rocket was confused. 'Student? I'm not a -' 'But if I am your teacher,' the bird interrupted, 'then you must be my student.' Rocket found it hard to argue with this bird." She tempts him by reading aloud the story of an unlucky dog named Buster who lost his favorite bone - and thus begins Rocket's growing desire to read for himself.We know that birds aren't teachers and that dogs don't read, but that doesn't stop us from enjoying the process of Rocket's learning how to write his letters, practicing the "wondrous, mighty, gorgeous alphabet" and sounding out the G and many Rs in Mr. Barker the dog's growl: "GRRRRRRRRR!"What child hasn't brought home a wild creature and asked - "Can I keep it?" - only to hear the parent say that this frog, spider or chipmunk would make a terrible pet. In "Children Make Terrible Pets," Peter Brown turns the classic picture book imagery of animals who act like people (or "people in animal suits," as it's said in the field) on its head with Lucy, an over-the-top feminine bear cub who finds a boy and wants to keep him as a pet. "Oh! My! Gosh! You are the cutest critter in the whole forest!" she says when she discovers him. And since his language sounds to her like "squeak," she names him Squeaker. Joyfully animated illustrations depict Lucy in a pink tutu and Squeaker as a typical boy in a striped shirt and sneakers. The way each page is framed in a faux wood finish gives the pictures the look of a vintage television console.Although Lucy finds that her human pet is a lot of fun to play and nap with, he is also a bit of a handful, ruining the furniture and refusing to potty train in a tray of kitty litter. In the end, we can all agree, children do make terrible pets.But the winner of the Most Absurd Picture Book of the Year Award, if there were one, would have to go to "A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea," written by Michael Ian Black and drawn by Kevin Hawkes. The joke is in the comically drawn-out contrast between the cute marching pigs of our imagination and the realistically sticky, glistening-nosed, frowning hogs.BLACK'S deadpan narration sets the tone. A pig parade is a terrible idea. The book states dryly that it might seem like a lot of fun - you might imagine sharp majorette uniforms, rousing marching-band music and fantastic floats. You would be wrong. The text notes that pigs don't march - they shuffle. Pigs don't enjoy military music, either; they prefer sad country ballads. And the only floats pigs like are the ones with root beer.Kids never say when telling a favorite joke, "Stop me if you've heard this one before." If they laughed at it once, it is 14 times as funny on the 14th telling. And, yes, the stories here are all ones that can be read again and again. They never get old.Lisa Von Drasek, the children's librarian at Bank Street College of Education, blogs about children's books for EarlyWord.com.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781596434028 With quiet affection, this husband-and-wife team tells the story of a zookeeper whose devotion is repaid when he falls ill. On most days, the angular, elderly Amos rides the bus to the zoo, plays chess with the elephant ("who thought and thought before making a move"), sits quietly with the penguin, and spends time with his other animal friends. But when Amos catches a cold, the animals ride the bus to pay him a visit, each, in a charming turnabout, doing for Amos whatever he usually does for them. The elephant sets up the chessboard; the shy penguin sits on the bed, "keeping Amos's feet warm." Newcomer Erin Stead's elegant woodblock prints, breathtaking in their delicacy, contribute to the story's tranquility and draw subtle elements to viewers' attention: the grain of the woodblocks themselves, Amos's handsome peacock feather coverlet. Every face-Amos's as well as the animals'-brims with personality. Philip Stead's (Creamed Tuna Fish and Peas on Toast) narrative moves with deliberate speed, dreaming up a joyous life for the sort of man likely to be passed on the street without a thought. Ages 2-6. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781596434028 K-Gr 2-Amos McGee, an elderly man who works at the zoo, finds time each day for five special friends. With empathy and understanding he gives the elephant, tortoise, penguin, rhinoceros, and owl the attention they need. One morning, Amos wakes up with a bad cold and stays home in bed. His friends wait patiently and then leave the zoo to visit him. Their trip mirrors his daily bus ride to the zoo and spans three nearly wordless spreads. Amos, sitting up in bed, clasps his hands in delight when his friends arrive. The elephant plays chess with him, and the tortoise plays hide-and-seek. The penguin keeps Amos's feet warm, while the rhinoceros offers a handkerchief when Amos sneezes. They all share a pot of tea. Then the owl, knowing that Amos is afraid of the dark, reads a bedtime story as the other animals listen. They all sleep in Amos's room the rest of the night. The artwork in this quiet tale of good deeds rewarded uses woodblock-printing techniques, soft flat colors, and occasional bits of red. Illustrations are positioned on the white space to move the tale along and underscore the bonds of friendship and loyalty. Whether read individually or shared, this gentle story will resonate with youngsters.-Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781596434028 Zookeeper Amos McGee always makes time to visit his good friends at work: he plays chess with the elephant, runs races with the tortoise (who always wins), sits quietly with the penguin, lends a handkerchief to the rhinoceros (who has a runny nose), and reads stories to the owl (who is afraid of the dark). Then, after Amos gets a cold, his friends miss him, and they leave the zoo and ride the bus to his place to care for him and cheer him up. Like the story, the quiet pictures, rendered in pencil and woodblock color prints, are both tender and hilarious. Each scene captures the drama of Amos and the creatures caring for each other, whether the elephant is contemplating his chess moves, his huge behind perched on a stool; or the rhinoceros is lending Amos a handkerchief; or the owl is reading them all a bedtime story. The extension of the familiar pet-bonding theme will have great appeal, especially in the final images of the wild creatures snuggled up with Amos in his cozy home.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist
New York Times Copyright The New York Times Company 9781596434028 IT is generally agreed that humor is subjective. Looking across the recent crop of picture books that specialize in gently absurd comedy, one can imagine grown-ups wondering if kids will get the joke. But that would underestimate even very young children's ability, to appreciate the incongruous, the nonsensical, the flat-out eccentric."A Sick Day for Amos McGee," by Philip C. Stead, is a case in point. It delightfully takes its loony scenario for granted. We meet Amos, a stooped-shouldered older gentleman dressed in a moss-green threepiece suit, getting ready for his day as a zookeeper. With a sweet smile, Amos goes about his daily chores. He plays chess with the delicately shaded pink elephant, lets a tortoise win races and sits with one of the penguins, who is very shy.One day when Amos comes down with a cold, the animals travel to his home to care for their caregiver. Observant readers will notice tiny surprises hidden in plain sight: a red balloon, a tiny mouse and a sparrow popping up here and there in the story. Erin E. Stead, the illustrator, overlays her pencil sketches with gentle tones of pink, peach, blue and green, and bright red spots that belie the deceptive ordinariness of the text.With his new book, "How Rocket Learned to Read," Tad Hills ("Duck & Goose") brings a sweet but not saccharine touch to a common struggle of childhood. Rocket is a fuzzy spotted dog who loves to chase leaves, chew sticks, sniff around the neighborhood and nap. One day a small yellow bird disturbs him. "'Aha! My first student! Wonderful!' she sang. Rocket was confused. 'Student? I'm not a -' 'But if I am your teacher,' the bird interrupted, 'then you must be my student.' Rocket found it hard to argue with this bird." She tempts him by reading aloud the story of an unlucky dog named Buster who lost his favorite bone - and thus begins Rocket's growing desire to read for himself.We know that birds aren't teachers and that dogs don't read, but that doesn't stop us from enjoying the process of Rocket's learning how to write his letters, practicing the "wondrous, mighty, gorgeous alphabet" and sounding out the G and many Rs in Mr. Barker the dog's growl: "GRRRRRRRRR!"What child hasn't brought home a wild creature and asked - "Can I keep it?" - only to hear the parent say that this frog, spider or chipmunk would make a terrible pet. In "Children Make Terrible Pets," Peter Brown turns the classic picture book imagery of animals who act like people (or "people in animal suits," as it's said in the field) on its head with Lucy, an over-the-top feminine bear cub who finds a boy and wants to keep him as a pet. "Oh! My! Gosh! You are the cutest critter in the whole forest!" she says when she discovers him. And since his language sounds to her like "squeak," she names him Squeaker. Joyfully animated illustrations depict Lucy in a pink tutu and Squeaker as a typical boy in a striped shirt and sneakers. The way each page is framed in a faux wood finish gives the pictures the look of a vintage television console.Although Lucy finds that her human pet is a lot of fun to play and nap with, he is also a bit of a handful, ruining the furniture and refusing to potty train in a tray of kitty litter. In the end, we can all agree, children do make terrible pets.But the winner of the Most Absurd Picture Book of the Year Award, if there were one, would have to go to "A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea," written by Michael Ian Black and drawn by Kevin Hawkes. The joke is in the comically drawn-out contrast between the cute marching pigs of our imagination and the realistically sticky, glistening-nosed, frowning hogs.BLACK'S deadpan narration sets the tone. A pig parade is a terrible idea. The book states dryly that it might seem like a lot of fun - you might imagine sharp majorette uniforms, rousing marching-band music and fantastic floats. You would be wrong. The text notes that pigs don't march - they shuffle. Pigs don't enjoy military music, either; they prefer sad country ballads. And the only floats pigs like are the ones with root beer.Kids never say when telling a favorite joke, "Stop me if you've heard this one before." If they laughed at it once, it is 14 times as funny on the 14th telling. And, yes, the stories here are all ones that can be read again and again. They never get old.Lisa Von Drasek, the children's librarian at Bank Street College of Education, blogs about children's books for EarlyWord.com.
New York Times Copyright The New York Times Company 9781596434028 IT is generally agreed that humor is subjective. Looking across the recent crop of picture books that specialize in gently absurd comedy, one can imagine grown-ups wondering if kids will get the joke. But that would underestimate even very young children's ability, to appreciate the incongruous, the nonsensical, the flat-out eccentric."A Sick Day for Amos McGee," by Philip C. Stead, is a case in point. It delightfully takes its loony scenario for granted. We meet Amos, a stooped-shouldered older gentleman dressed in a moss-green threepiece suit, getting ready for his day as a zookeeper. With a sweet smile, Amos goes about his daily chores. He plays chess with the delicately shaded pink elephant, lets a tortoise win races and sits with one of the penguins, who is very shy.One day when Amos comes down with a cold, the animals travel to his home to care for their caregiver. Observant readers will notice tiny surprises hidden in plain sight: a red balloon, a tiny mouse and a sparrow popping up here and there in the story. Erin E. Stead, the illustrator, overlays her pencil sketches with gentle tones of pink, peach, blue and green, and bright red spots that belie the deceptive ordinariness of the text.With his new book, "How Rocket Learned to Read," Tad Hills ("Duck & Goose") brings a sweet but not saccharine touch to a common struggle of childhood. Rocket is a fuzzy spotted dog who loves to chase leaves, chew sticks, sniff around the neighborhood and nap. One day a small yellow bird disturbs him. "'Aha! My first student! Wonderful!' she sang. Rocket was confused. 'Student? I'm not a -' 'But if I am your teacher,' the bird interrupted, 'then you must be my student.' Rocket found it hard to argue with this bird." She tempts him by reading aloud the story of an unlucky dog named Buster who lost his favorite bone - and thus begins Rocket's growing desire to read for himself.We know that birds aren't teachers and that dogs don't read, but that doesn't stop us from enjoying the process of Rocket's learning how to write his letters, practicing the "wondrous, mighty, gorgeous alphabet" and sounding out the G and many Rs in Mr. Barker the dog's growl: "GRRRRRRRRR!"What child hasn't brought home a wild creature and asked - "Can I keep it?" - only to hear the parent say that this frog, spider or chipmunk would make a terrible pet. In "Children Make Terrible Pets," Peter Brown turns the classic picture book imagery of animals who act like people (or "people in animal suits," as it's said in the field) on its head with Lucy, an over-the-top feminine bear cub who finds a boy and wants to keep him as a pet. "Oh! My! Gosh! You are the cutest critter in the whole forest!" she says when she discovers him. And since his language sounds to her like "squeak," she names him Squeaker. Joyfully animated illustrations depict Lucy in a pink tutu and Squeaker as a typical boy in a striped shirt and sneakers. The way each page is framed in a faux wood finish gives the pictures the look of a vintage television console.Although Lucy finds that her human pet is a lot of fun to play and nap with, he is also a bit of a handful, ruining the furniture and refusing to potty train in a tray of kitty litter. In the end, we can all agree, children do make terrible pets.But the winner of the Most Absurd Picture Book of the Year Award, if there were one, would have to go to "A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea," written by Michael Ian Black and drawn by Kevin Hawkes. The joke is in the comically drawn-out contrast between the cute marching pigs of our imagination and the realistically sticky, glistening-nosed, frowning hogs.BLACK'S deadpan narration sets the tone. A pig parade is a terrible idea. The book states dryly that it might seem like a lot of fun - you might imagine sharp majorette uniforms, rousing marching-band music and fantastic floats. You would be wrong. The text notes that pigs don't march - they shuffle. Pigs don't enjoy military music, either; they prefer sad country ballads. And the only floats pigs like are the ones with root beer.Kids never say when telling a favorite joke, "Stop me if you've heard this one before." If they laughed at it once, it is 14 times as funny on the 14th telling. And, yes, the stories here are all ones that can be read again and again. They never get old.Lisa Von Drasek, the children's librarian at Bank Street College of Education, blogs about children's books for EarlyWord.com.
New York Times Copyright The New York Times Company 9781596434028 IT is generally agreed that humor is subjective. Looking across the recent crop of picture books that specialize in gently absurd comedy, one can imagine grown-ups wondering if kids will get the joke. But that would underestimate even very young children's ability, to appreciate the incongruous, the nonsensical, the flat-out eccentric."A Sick Day for Amos McGee," by Philip C. Stead, is a case in point. It delightfully takes its loony scenario for granted. We meet Amos, a stooped-shouldered older gentleman dressed in a moss-green threepiece suit, getting ready for his day as a zookeeper. With a sweet smile, Amos goes about his daily chores. He plays chess with the delicately shaded pink elephant, lets a tortoise win races and sits with one of the penguins, who is very shy.One day when Amos comes down with a cold, the animals travel to his home to care for their caregiver. Observant readers will notice tiny surprises hidden in plain sight: a red balloon, a tiny mouse and a sparrow popping up here and there in the story. Erin E. Stead, the illustrator, overlays her pencil sketches with gentle tones of pink, peach, blue and green, and bright red spots that belie the deceptive ordinariness of the text.With his new book, "How Rocket Learned to Read," Tad Hills ("Duck & Goose") brings a sweet but not saccharine touch to a common struggle of childhood. Rocket is a fuzzy spotted dog who loves to chase leaves, chew sticks, sniff around the neighborhood and nap. One day a small yellow bird disturbs him. "'Aha! My first student! Wonderful!' she sang. Rocket was confused. 'Student? I'm not a -' 'But if I am your teacher,' the bird interrupted, 'then you must be my student.' Rocket found it hard to argue with this bird." She tempts him by reading aloud the story of an unlucky dog named Buster who lost his favorite bone - and thus begins Rocket's growing desire to read for himself.We know that birds aren't teachers and that dogs don't read, but that doesn't stop us from enjoying the process of Rocket's learning how to write his letters, practicing the "wondrous, mighty, gorgeous alphabet" and sounding out the G and many Rs in Mr. Barker the dog's growl: "GRRRRRRRRR!"What child hasn't brought home a wild creature and asked - "Can I keep it?" - only to hear the parent say that this frog, spider or chipmunk would make a terrible pet. In "Children Make Terrible Pets," Peter Brown turns the classic picture book imagery of animals who act like people (or "people in animal suits," as it's said in the field) on its head with Lucy, an over-the-top feminine bear cub who finds a boy and wants to keep him as a pet. "Oh! My! Gosh! You are the cutest critter in the whole forest!" she says when she discovers him. And since his language sounds to her like "squeak," she names him Squeaker. Joyfully animated illustrations depict Lucy in a pink tutu and Squeaker as a typical boy in a striped shirt and sneakers. The way each page is framed in a faux wood finish gives the pictures the look of a vintage television console.Although Lucy finds that her human pet is a lot of fun to play and nap with, he is also a bit of a handful, ruining the furniture and refusing to potty train in a tray of kitty litter. In the end, we can all agree, children do make terrible pets.But the winner of the Most Absurd Picture Book of the Year Award, if there were one, would have to go to "A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea," written by Michael Ian Black and drawn by Kevin Hawkes. The joke is in the comically drawn-out contrast between the cute marching pigs of our imagination and the realistically sticky, glistening-nosed, frowning hogs.BLACK'S deadpan narration sets the tone. A pig parade is a terrible idea. The book states dryly that it might seem like a lot of fun - you might imagine sharp majorette uniforms, rousing marching-band music and fantastic floats. You would be wrong. The text notes that pigs don't march - they shuffle. Pigs don't enjoy military music, either; they prefer sad country ballads. And the only floats pigs like are the ones with root beer.Kids never say when telling a favorite joke, "Stop me if you've heard this one before." If they laughed at it once, it is 14 times as funny on the 14th telling. And, yes, the stories here are all ones that can be read again and again. They never get old.Lisa Von Drasek, the children's librarian at Bank Street College of Education, blogs about children's books for EarlyWord.com.