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A Sick Day for Amos McGee

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  21,744 ratings  ·  2,708 reviews
Amos McGee, a friendly zookeeper, always made time to visit his good friends: the elephant, the tortoise, the penguin, the rhinoceros, and the owl.

But one day—"Ah-choo!"—he woke up with the sniffles and the sneezes. Though he didn't make it into the zoo that day, he did receive some unexpected guests.

Philip C. Stead's gently humorous tale of friendship and dedication is il
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published May 25th 2010 by Roaring Brook Press
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  21,744 ratings  ·  2,708 reviews

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We all loved this fun little book. Amos McGee works at the zoo and he takes such good care of the animals. They love him and one day he has a sick day and the animals miss him and they come to his house to help him feel better.

It’s a sweet and touching story, simply told for beginners and up and this really warms up your heart. I can say that I don’t want a Rhino in my house, but anyway. I had warm fuzzies all over reading this.

The kids had fun with this story and even the niece gave it 4 stars
Mar 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This may be my favorite picture book for children. This is destined to be a classic. It is a soft, gentle story of friendship between a kindly zookeeper and his animal friends. Beautifully illustrated, every page contains subtleties in it's classically-rendered scenes. There is a softness that translates in every image, a kindness in every creature and this is not lost on my children. We have read this dozens of times and they always point out different things...sometimes funny, sometimes sweet. ...more
Apr 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes children’s book reviewers bandy about the term “classic” like it was a verbal shuttlecock. There’s nothing that raises the savvy readers’ eyebrows faster than to see some wordsmith drooling profusely over “a new classic” or a book merely “destined to become a classic”. Even worse is when they start calling a book “old-fashioned”. Nine times out of then what they’re talking about is the fact that the book parrots some picture book title of the past. That’s the crazy thing about A Sick D ...more
Husband and wife team Philip C. and Erin E. Stead's A Sick Day for Amos McGee is sweetly and basically a glowing and softly intense tale of friendship (between zookeeper Amos McGee and a diverse group of zoo animals) and that the most simple acts of kindness, of sweetness and understanding are often, are usually the most healing, and sustaining (while confined at home and in bed due to a nasty flu-like cold, Amos McGee almost immediately begins to rally and feel better when his zoo animal friend ...more
Lisa Vegan
Dec 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: bedtime reading for kids who like quiet stories, animals & who enjoy being amused
Recommended to Lisa by: Kathryn
I was sure I’d dock at least one star from my rating of this book because a zoo features prominently in the story, and I hate zoos. Huge thumbs down on zoos from me. But this story has enough fantastical elements that I ended up not being concerned with the over the top benign way this zoo, and its animals and zookeeper/zoo worker, were presented.

I love that Amos has a teddy bear, and I particularly love the relationships between Amos and the several of the animals who are in the story.

The illu
Dec 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This 2010 debut is up for some awards and for good reason. I think it's got a glorious "classic" feel in both the illustrations and the text; it is just so gentle and yet full of humor and imagination and good-heartedness and fun. Amos McGee is the sort of old man that I admire so deeply; one who has taken his old years as a blessing rather than a curse and who shares his time and his wisdom and kind heart with others. In this case, he works at a zoo and spends time with each animal there, getti ...more
Mar 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: older young people who like animals
Zookeeper Amos is faithfully at the zoo every single day, taking care of the elephant, the tortoise, the penguin, the rhinoceros, and the owl.


The story is very sweet. One day he doesn't show up and the animals wonder and wonder where he is, until they decide to take the bus to his house and check on him.


The illustrations are a style that works less well for me. I think the younger eye is trained a little bit more towards brighter colors and contrasts, and this book feels a little pastel, a
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book as a gift for a youngster. Of course I couldn't gift it unless I liked it so I had to read it. It should be a classic, as the story is timeless. Amos is elderly and works at the zoo, where he is friends with an elephant, a penguin, an owl, a turtle, and a hippo. When he doesn't show up one day for work, the five animals get worried and take the bus to his house. He is so glad to see them. They take care of him and everyone is content! The illustrations are absolutely beautiful ...more
Katie Fitzgerald
I really disliked this book when it was published and was so disappointed when it won the Caldecott, but I still occasionally share it with kids, usually with positive results. There’s nothing terribly wrong with the story - I just never thought it was all that original, and on top of that, I’m just generally annoyed by animals who act like people. Re-readings have given me an appreciation for the unique style of the art, and I like the chess-playing elephant, but otherwise, this book is just no ...more
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the sweetest book, ever. The illustrations are absolutely classic, right down to the red nose on Amos McGee. This is one of those books you just have to hug.
Jan 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Natalie by: scbwi
My daughter read A Sick Day for Amos McGee aloud to me before she went to sleep and it was a treat for both of us.

I love stories for children where older characters retain a child-like quality of bonhomie and easy camaraderie. Amos has both which makes him irresistible to me. The structure of this book is really comforting too, a there and back again plot where the protagonist goes on a journey wherein the reader is introduced to everyone worth knowing and then they are separated but not for lo
Apr 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I was utterly charmed by this book. It has a gentle humor, a sweetness and an inherent loveliness that really makes it special.

Amos McGee got up early every morning, changed into his uniform, and headed to work at the City Zoo. Even though he had a busy work schedule, he always had time to visit his friends. He played chess with the elephant, ran races with the tortoise, sat quietly with the shy penguin, wiped the rhino’s runny nose, and read books to the owl who was afraid of the dark. But one
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing

I love the friendship between Amos and his animals. He gives all of himself to them every day, being exactly what they need. "He always made time to visit his good friends." He was exactly what each needed, nurturing for the rhinoceros, a friend to the shy penguin, mental stimulation for the elephant, and physical activity for the tortoise. It's a bit odd that he reads a bedtime story to the owl who is afraid of the dark. Even my Kindergartners know that owls are nocturnal and wake up t
This book came to me highly recommended, and lived up to it all (not an easy thing to do!).

This is an incredibly sweet, fantastical story about a zookeeper who spends his time with his good friends at the zoo (and those friends are the animals, of course!).
He does all sorts of fun things (like playing chess with the elephant) or thoughtful things (like sitting with the penguin who is shy) and truly seems to have a bond and friendship with them.
So, when Amos McGee doesn't come into work one day,
Evelyn Tapia
Apr 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really liked reading this book because it was short and the pictures went along with the story. I think this picture book falls under one of the levels of illustration which is symmetry. The reader can find themselves enjoying reading this book. I think this would be appropriate for 1st and 2nd graders because it’s easy to understand for them. The story begins with Amos, an elderly, who works at the zoo. Throughout the day Amos went through a routine; from waking up,to taking the bus to work, ...more
Jan 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
2011 Caldecott
A beautiful story with heartwarming pictures. Amos is well loved by the animals at the zoo where he works. When Amos takes a sick day, it is totally believable that the animals worry enough to catch the bus to go visit Amos and do the things they all love to do individually with their friend.
Kids will surely ad-lib to this story, as the pictures have such a friendly atmosphere.
Oct 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was so adorable and heartfelt. I love feel good stories like this for my daughter.
Mar 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Sweet Animal-Human Stories / Fans of Woodblock Artwork
Kindhearted Amos McGee was as regular as clockwork, going to his job at the City Zoo every day, and visiting with all his good friends. Every day he played his game of chess with the elephant, ran his race with the tortoise, sat quietly with the penguin, helped the rhinoceros blow his nose, and read stories to the owl. But when Amos wakes up with a terrible cold one day, and can't make it into work, the animals decide that it's time for them to do something for him, for a change...

I really enjoy
Jan 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children, read-2012
Lovely and sweet. I really enjoyed the simple story and loved the drawings. My son loved the animals and named them over and over on each page. (He especially loved the owl and the balloon.)
Michael Wright
Aug 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this to my daughter several times a day. She LOVES the rhinoceros with the runny nose!
This book has an old fashioned vibe to the illustrations. I wasn't certain what my reaction would be to this book, but I ended up loving it. It's a tale of friendship. Amos McGee is a creature of habit. Each day at the zoo, he visits his friends. He plays chess with the elephant, gives a tissue to the rhino and reads stories to the owl and so on. One day, he gets sick and stays home. His friends miss him and decide to take action.

What I love is that Amos McGee probably doesn't think he is doing
Marybeth Batie
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: t-l-307
I thought that this book was very well written and told a very cute story. Amos McGee is a zoo keeper and visits his animal friends every day to take care of them. One day, he is sick and can't make it to work, so the animals decide to pay him a visit and take care of him. I thought that the theme of friendship and loyalty shined through the pages, with the idea that you should always be there for your friends. It was comical to see the animals waiting at the bus stop, and I am sure children wou ...more
Carlos Gastelum
Dec 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Stead, E., E. (2010) A sick day for amos mcgee. New York, NY: Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group.

A Sick Day for Amos Mc Gene is a picture book about a punctual zookeeper named Amos. Unfortunately, one day Amos wakes up very ill and is not able to show up to work, so the animals decide to pay him a surprise visit. Upon their arrival they decide to brighten up Amos’s day and succeed in helping him feel better. Each page is filled with pictures of animals doing unbelievable things. The illustra
Mississippi Library Commission
This is the sweetest picture book ever; no wonder it won the Caldecott in 2011! In A Sick Day for Amos McGee, we meet genial Amos and his friends at the zoo where he works. He makes time to see them every day and they all enjoy their time together immensely. One unfortunate day, Amos wakes up and doesn't feel very well. Luckily for him, his zoo friends pay him a memorable visit. The illustrations are heartwarming and hilarious at the same time. The picture of the animals crammed into the metro b ...more
A lovely, understated story about friendship and empathy. And the illustrations are beautiful, humorous yet sensitive and expressive. The use of colors is refreshingly sober. I'll have some more of that, please ...

I could see this as a story time read, but there are details in the pictures that are best appreciated with a lap read.
Colby Sharp
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
A Sick Day for Amos McGee is a beautiful picture book. In a day where it seems bright colors, and crazy art rule picture books, A Sick Day for Amos McGee is beautiful in its unflashiness. This great tale of friendship and love will become a long time favorite in both my classroom and home.
Michele Knott
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Somehow, I just never got around to reading this book.
I'm glad I finally did.
What a beautiful tale of friendship.
Stead is quite talented with making books that have characters that come to life in his book. They become dimensional characters that you wish would reside outside of the pages.
Kirsten Kinnell
Apr 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: felix
Lovely, quiet story, beautiful illustrations
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Confession time…I read A Sick Day for Amos McGee when it first came out ten years ago. 10 years ago! Where does the time go? But at the time, I thought it was well…dull. Isn’t it remarkable what time can do though? I just shake my head at my old self and wonder what I was thinking?! Philip Stead is one of my favorite picture book authors now—especially when he’s paired up with Erin Stead. Mr. Stead’s simple, gentle, quiet way of sharing a story absolutely charms me. The tone, images, and little
Zoe's Human
May 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lt
A charming story about sickness and friendship. Beautiful art. Suitable for ages 2 - 5.
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Philip C. Stead is the author of the Caldecott Medal winning book A Sick Day for Amos McGee, also named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2010 and a Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of 2010, illustrated by his wife, Erin E. Stead. Together with Erin, he also created Bear Has a Story to Tell, an E.B. White Read-Aloud Award honor book. Philip, also an artist, has written and illustrate ...more

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