A Sick Day for Amos McGee

Because we have so many amazing books filling up our classroom, I rarely purchase new picture books. Because we usually read different books each year, the library is often a better (and much cheaper!) option. But when I saw this book being consistently short listed for the Caldecott award, I knew I had to check it out.

Elizabeth Bird is a NYC children’s librarian, and I agree with her suggestions almost always. Here’s her review.

I stopped by the excellent Ravenna Third Place Books last weekend, and fresh on the heels of my own sick day, the fact that A Sick Day for Amos McGee was prominently featured on the picture book table, made it seem a rather serendipitous purchase.

Vintage is hot right now, and you’ve probably figured out by now that I love it. 365 Penguins is one of the best picture books written in the past ten years, for example. (And the author has a sweet new book out too, by the way, that looks fantastic!)

But as many reviewers before me have mentioned, Amos McGee isn’t so much vintage as it is timeless. I wonder if it’s because woodcuts are such a big commitment to create that when you make them, you want the designs to be relevant for a long time as well.

Speaking of woodcuts, I’m also excited to talk about this woodcut book after we’ve read a woodcut book of a pretty different style. I’m speaking of the excellent Drummer Hoff, which we’ve revisited several times already this year. Here’s a read-along version of the book.

And a group of kids singing the book.

I’m getting off topic. Bottom line:

1. Woodcuts are amazing.
2. A Sick Day for Amos McGee is lovely.
3. I can’t get Drummer Hoff off my mind.

((By the way, in case you’re wondering “If you think 365 Penguins was such a great book, why didn’t it get a Caldecott, Ms. Houghton?” I see two explanations. First, it would have gone up against the incredible The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Second, Caldecotts are given to US illustrators.))


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