A Sick Day for Amos McGee
by Philip Stead & Erin Stead


A Sick Day for Amos McGee: 
This charming book tells the story of an elderly zoo keeper who made time each day for his animal friends-- racing a tortoise, reading stories to an owl, spending time with a shy penguin...

Then when Amos is home sick, his animal friends return the favor, going to his home to cheer him up.

Amos is an adorable little guy and the attention he gives to his animal friends is tenderly portrayed. The result of his kindness--that his animal friends rushed to his side when he's sick--is a nice reminder to kids that they create caring friendships thru the way they treat others. Plus, it's lots of fun to see animals do human things like taking the bus, playing games...

After reading this book, a fun writing prompt would be: Who would you like to have visit you the next time you are home sick?

Reading Levels for A Sick Day for Amos McGee

Interest Level:   Preschool - Grade 2
Guided Reading Level:    M           
DRA Level:  24                 

Lexile Measure:   AD760L
Grade Equivalent:    3.0

Awards Won by this book

  • Caldecott Medal 2011
  • New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book
  • New York Public Library Best Children's Books List
  • Chicago Public Library Best Children's Books List 2011
  • Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book

See inside this book

The illustrations in this book were created via woodblock printing: laying the color down first with blocks, then using a pencil to add in detail afterward.  After reading this book, explain the technique. Kids find it fascinating.  In the first sample spread, the animals are waiting at the bus stop to take the bus to their sick friend's home.  So adorable!  


In the second sample spread , the animal friends arrive at sick Amos's house.

Teaching Idea

After reading A Sick Day for Amos McGee aloud to our class, we always have the kids write about who they would like to have come visit them if they were sick. For our sample, we say we'd like Mrs. Claus to come visit us because she gives good hugs and she would make yummy cookies that would cheer us up.  We then set the kids loose to write about who they would like to have come visit them. And wow...do they come up with some funny, crazy visitors. :)

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