Amos is a creature of habit - every day he rises at the exact same time and follows the exact same routine as he readies himself for work. 'He would wind his watch and set a pot of water to boil', and soon he is out the door to catch the bus; every day he arrives at his job at the city zoo at 6 am sharp.
Amos is a busy man; he always had a lot to do - 'but he always made time to visit his good friends': he's play chess with the elephant, races with the tortoise, sits with the penguin, helps the rhino blow his nose, reads with the owl. And what a good friend he is - who else would wait while the elephant pondered and pondered his next move, or let the tortoise always win, or be ready with a handkerchief to wipe Rhino’s runny nose, or stay with the owl because he was afraid of the dark.
But then one day, Amos is sick and he can't make it into the city zoo and in the Caldecott Winner, ‘A Sick Day for Amos’ a wonderfully written book by Philip C. Stead, we are reminded of the true meaning of friendship. When Amos doesn’t show, his animal buddies wonder where he is - and like true friends should, they set off to find out why Amos is missing. With no words, reminiscent of Goodnight Gorilla, the soft, beautiful illustrations by Erin Stead continue the story, show the elephant and the tortoise, the penguin and rhino heading out of the zoo, down the street, waiting for the bus, riding the bus and surprising Amos. “'Hurray’, Amos claps, ‘my good friends are here!'” And now it's time for his friends to be true good friends to Amos. So elephant sets up the chess game and waited patiently as Amos thinks and thinks about his next move. And penguin lets Amos chose the game, and plays hide and seek instead of racing. Penguin warms Amos feet as he naps and rhino is ready with a handkerchief. Together they share a pot of tea, and together they curl up in his bedroom, going to sleep. Staying with him like true friends.
'A Sick Day for Amos' is a warm tale of friendship, and a wonderful reminder what it means to be a true friend. A must read for children and parents alike.
A Sick Day for Amos
Written by Phillip C. Stead
Illustrated by Erin Stead
Published by Roaring Book Press
Reviewed by Jenny Tananbaum.