A Sick Day for Amos McGee - Thao Lam
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A Sick Day for Amos McGee

A Sick Day for Amos McGee

A Sick Day for Amos McGee

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It’s the sniffling and sneezing season. Keep reading…

A Sick Day for Amos McGee, written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead, is a feel-good book, particularly if you’re feeling under the weather. Amos McGee works at the zoo, and everyday he spends time with his friends, who come in all shapes and sizes. He plays chess with the elephant; races with the tortoise; sits quietly with the penguin; helps the rhinoceros with his allergies; and reads to the owl. But one day, when Amos is too sick to get out of bed, his animal friends decide to return the favour and keep him company. So, during their visit, the elephant plays chess with Amos; the tortoise and Amos plays hide-and-seek (since Amos is too tired to run, he hides under the covers); the penguin sits quietly, keeping Amos’s feet warm; and the rhinoceros offers a handkerchief when Amos sneezes, while the owl reads to him.

Created by a husband-and-wife team, this story is soothing and warms the soul. Philip, who is also an illustrator in his own right, wrote this story for his wife. The illustrations, with their subtle palette and soft graphite drawings, create a cozy feeling that is well paired with the tone of the story. The flat muted colours are applied through woodblock printing, and are breathtaking in their delicacy.

If you are interest in how Erin creates such delicate illustrations, check out her interview with Eisha and Jules at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast www.sevenimpossiblethings.com

A Sick Day for Amos McGee, a children’s book review by Thao Lam

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Author Philip C. Stead

There is very little information on author Philip C. Stead, but visit his website and check out his portfolio at www.philipstead.com

I am always tickled pink when an author or an illustrator, takes time out of their busy schedule to reply to a fan mail.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee was the first time I ever sat down with the thought: I am going to write a story today. I wanted to write a story specifically for my wife, Erin. Nobody draws animals (especially elephants!) quite like Erin. She has a knack too for illustrating the unusual relationships that people can have with animals. I thought about the things Erin draws best and the story characters came to me with no effort at all—an elephant, a penguin, a rhinoceros, a tortoise, an owl, and their good friend Amos McGee, an elderly zookeeper. A Sick Day for Amos McGee is a simple, quiet story about Amos and his daily routine—chess with the elephant, races with the tortoise, story time with the owl. On a day when Amos is feeling under the weather his good friends board a bus and come over for a visit. The animals do for Amos all of the things that Amos normally does for them. It’s a story about friendship, it’s a story about the unusual but strong relationships that a person can have with animals, and it’s a story I really couldn’t have illustrated myself, at least not well as Erin, who I think has done a beautiful job.

– Philip C. Stead –


Illustrator Erin E. Stead

Erin E. Stead met her husband Philip during art class at Divine Child High School, in Dearborn, Michigan. Together they moved to New York where he worked at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and she worked as a creative director assistant at HarperCollins Children’s Books. She also did a stint at one of my favorite children’s bookstore in the whole world, Books of Wonder (I’m not sure if it’s in the tourist guidebook book, but it’s a must see when visiting New York).

I am always tickled pink when an author or an illustrator, takes time out of their busy schedule to reply to a fan mail.

Philip says he wrote Amos McGee with me in mind and that is absolutely true. He knows what I make even better than I do sometimes, and I am very lucky he wrote this little book for me. I naturally draw pretty quiet pictures, and Phil told a story that I think highlights the importance of quiet moments. Especially if those moments happen between friends.

– Erin E. Stead –

To find out more about Erin E. Stead’s current projects and happenings, follow her blog at www.erinstead.com

Publisher Roaring Brook Press (May 25, 2010)

ISBN-10 1596434023

ΙSBN-13 978-1596434028