Winning Wednesdays: A Sick Day for Amos McGee


This 2011 Caldecott winner uses bright, vibrant colors in order to illustrate the novel.  Sometimes the colors are all splattered on one page, and sometimes there are black and white pages with small explosions of color used to make the most important parts of the book stand out.



A Sick Day for Amos McGee is about an old man who works at the City Zoo. The reader follows Amos as he rides the 6 a.m. bus and visits all of his animal friends.


Each of Amos’ zoo animal friends has distinct personalities. Amos expresses his care for each of the animals by spending time with them in different ways. For example, Amos plays chess with a thoughtful elephant who apparently enjoys strategy games. Amos also let his friend, the tortoise, win in running races and sat with his very shy penguin friend to keep him company. In addition to accommodating his various friends, Amos also helps his friends in need. For example, Amos’ rhinoceros friend usually has a runny nose, so he always lends him a handkerchief. Amos also reads stories to his owl friend to calm him down when he is afraid of the dark.


There came a day when Amos was sick and couldn’t come to work. Because all of Amos’ animal friends missed him so much, they went to go visit him. Amos’ friends kept him company by participating in the same things that they normally do, but this time the animals accommodated him. Amos and the elephant played a game of chess, but this time the elephant gave Amos time to think. Since Amos was so tired, the tortoise played hide-and-seek instead (with Amos hiding in his bed and the tortoise hiding in his shell). The penguin was nice enough to keep Amos’ feet warm while the rhinoceros gave Amos a handkerchief each time he sneezed. And even the owl, who himself was afraid of the dark, read books to Amos because he was afraid of the dark too. Each of Amos’ friends took themselves out of their own comfort zone in order to make Amos feel better, just as he had done for them every other day of the year.

-Saba Getaneh



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