“THE BEST SICK DAY EVER and the animals in the zoo feature in this striking picture book debut.
Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In Amos McGee’s case, all sorts of species, too! Every day he spends a little bit of time with each of his friends at the zoo, running races with the tortoise, keeping the shy penguin company, and even reading bedtime stories to the owl. But when Amos is too sick to make it to the zoo, his animal friends decide it’s time they returned the favor.”
To say that I was taken by surprise by the winners of the Caldecott and Newbery this year would be a big understatement. As someone who 291 books in 2011, many of them young adult and picture books, one would think that I would have at least heard of the winners before now. Apparently, I was not the only caught unaware about the Newbery. My local library does not even own a copy (yet) and Amazon will not be able to get my copy to me until the end of January. I suspect this one might be another Higher Power of Lucky type book. I hope not.
I was able to get a copy of the Caldecott winner: A Sick Day for Amos McGee written by Philip Christian Stead and illustrated by Erin Stead. It’s a cute story and very well written. As for the illustrations: they are NICE, but they are not MAGICAL and quite frankly, I expect Caldecott illustrations to be MAGICAL, to evoke something within the reader. It’s wonderful when they play an integral part in the story as in Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathman. Bill Thomson’s illustrations in Chalk are MAGICAL. Art & Max by David Wiesner has MAGICAL illustrations. To be honest though, I figured Wiesner’s book would be bypassed because he’s already won the award three times. That shouldn’t be a factor in considering whether or not a book is worthy of the award, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find that it does factor in, if subconsciously.
Of course I’m just one reader in a sea of millions. And I’m an adult. The book was after all intended for children. I will be sharing it with my students. I’ll update you on their opinion of the illustrations. (And yes, I will ask them to compare A Sick Day for Amos McGee with Chalk and Art & Max.)
Recommended for Pre-school to 3rd Grade.
Mrs. Archer’s Rating: 3 of 5