I thought that I could outrun the common cold this time. Every school year it is a race of endurance to see how long I can keep ahead of the germs. Eventually it catches up with me, and this week I found myself working around a raspy voice and constant sneezing. What a perfect time to pull out A Sick Day for Amos McGee!
This 2011 Caldecott Medal winner by Philip Stead is a delight to read, especially when I am under the weather. The story follows Amos McGee through his daily work routine, and he is easy to love immediately, for the care he puts into simple jobs. The smallest details make up the heart of the narrative. He makes a breakfast of oatmeal and tea. He waits for the bus. He plays chess with the slow-moving elephant and tends to a sniffly rhino (no small task). There are many jobs to do, but Amos makes time to care for each animal one by one. He knows exactly what they need.
When one day Amos stays home sick, roles reverse, and he is taken care of by the very friends who are usually looked after by him. It is tender and beautifully accompanied by the woodblock and pencil drawings of first time illustrator Erin Stead.
Not only is this book a nice reminder that good things often come back around to help you, it also happened to solve a puzzle for me. Once I found myself in Barnes and Noble, searching for the perfect thank you gift. I needed a book that was warm and real and delightful. It needed to have emotional depth but also be buoyed up by lightness and ease. As soon as I pulled A Sick Day for Amos McGee off the shelf, I knew it was a perfect fit.