Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Sick Day for Amos McGee

We ALL have just been delighted by a new discovery.  In fact, we can't keep it out of our hands.  Someone continues to pick it up and study it, whether kids or parents.  Even the Mister is bowled over by this one.  (Have I mentioned that he's an Art Director by day, a logo designer by night?)  I'm not quite sure what intrigues me most: the story or the illustrations.  I'm wowed about the simplicity of both.  And clearly it's struck a chord with the kids.  So what is the wonderful new book, you ask?  A Sick Day for Amos McGee written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by his wife, Erin E. Stead. 

I picked up the new fascination thinking it was a vintage book that I had somehow overlooked.  Imagine my surprise at seeing its copyright in 2010!  So then I had to do a double, triple, quadruple take (not an exaggeration).  That's recommendation enough right there as far as I'm concerned: a timeless book just published in 2010, a rare jewel!  The description in the dust-jacket says it best:

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 Stead's gently humorous tale of friendship and dedication is illustrated by his wife Erin Stead's elegant drawings, embellished with subtle hints of color.

Erin Stead creates her illustrations through woodblock printing techniques before adding pencil enhancements.  The kids also enjoyed listening to the illustrator describe her process: here, only1 min. and 24 sec. long.  While researching, before concluding my post, I discovered that Erin Stead has just been awarded the 2011 Caldecott Medal for her illustrations (and this is the first book that she's illustrated)!  Need I say more?!

I know in our town, a whole lot of little ones, and their parents, are battling the flu this month.  This delightful story brings smiles in the midst of not-feeling-well sighs.  In fact, it's been said to be the best sick day ever.  Do check it out!  I'm thinking it will find a permanent residence in our home, sooner than later.

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