Rediscover: A Sick Day for Amos McGee

Elderly zookeeper Amos McGee does the same thing every day: he gets up, catches the bus to the zoo and cares for his animal friends. He plays chess with the elephant, races the tortoise (and lets her win), sits with the shy penguin, shares a handkerchief with the rhinoceros and reads bedtime stories to the owl. One day Amos wakes up with an awful cold, and his concerned animal pals decide to take the bus to visit him. A Sick Day for Amos McGee, written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead, shows the lengths friends will go to when supporting one another.

Erin Stead illustrated Amos McGee at the request of her husband, Philip. She had been discouraged with her art and had not drawn for the previous three years. This was her first time illustrating a book. The couple and their editor, Neal Porter, expected only modest interest in what they considered a quiet story. Instead, Erin Stead won the 2011 Caldecott Medal for her illustrations, and A Sick Day for Amos McGee sold more than 300,000 copies. The Steads have since collaborated on several other titles, including Bear Has a Story to Tell (2012), The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine (2017) and Music for Mister Moon (2019). On November 5, Roaring Brook Press released a 10th anniversary edition of A Sick Day for Amos McGee ($29.99, 9781626721050). --Tobias Mutter