A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Charles Keller (Best Joke Book Ever).
- Itâ€™s the birth date of Anna Sewell (1820â€“1878), Black Beauty.
- Painter Vincent van Gogh (1853â€“1890) was also born on this day. Read Vincentâ€™s Colors by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Van Gogh: The Touch of Yellow by Jacqueline Loumaye, and Vincent van Gogh: Sunflowers and Swirly Stars by Joan Holub.
- In 1858, Hymen Lipman patents a pencil with attached eraser. Hence, it is Pencil Day! Read The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg, illustrated by Bruce Ingman, and Brand-new Pencils, Brand-new Books by Diane deGroat.
Today marks National Doctor Day, when we should show our personal doctor appreciation with a card or a gift. It commemorates March 30, 1933, the first use of anesthesia in surgery. If by any chance you want to give a book as a gift, for yourself or your doctor, I can think of no better title than the Caldecott Winner, A Sick Day for Amos McGee.
Philip C. Steadâ€™s quiet text, illustrated by his wife Erin, has become even more powerful for me with each reading. The palette of this book and distinct but not too strong black line causes the reader to slow down, pause, and relax. With retro colors, the book might well have been published in the same time period as some of the Ellen Raskin gems like Nothing Ever Happens on My Block. Both the Steads understand you donâ€™t have to scream at childrenâ€”you can whisper.
Amos McGee, a kindly zookeeper, lives an ordered lifeâ€”every day he eats the same things, rides the number 5 bus to work, and enjoys his day on the job. We watch Amos play chess with the elephant, race the turtle (who has never lost), or sit with a very shy penguin. After he lends his handkerchief to the rhinoceros, he ends his day by reading stories to the owl.
But the next morning he wakes up with a cold and chillsâ€”and Amos stays home for the day. A lovely picture shows him cuddling his teddy bear, his rabbit slippers on, and a wee mouse under the bed. Because the animals miss their friend, they take action. In two wordless double-page spreads, they wait for and board the number 5 bus and bring a balloon to their friend Amos McGee. He plays with the animals until they all go to sleepâ€”because they have a bus to catch in the morning.
Whether used as a good-night book or just for story hour, A Sick Day for Amos McGee has been winning over one reader after another since its publication in June 2010. A book full of emotion and heart that never becomes sentimental, the story and pictures provide a quiet, gentle world for two- through eight-year-olds and adults. Devotion and friendship between humans and animals has rarely been so well portrayed. The artist shows how strong composition, with only a touch of color, can convey story and character. Using wood blocks and pencil, Erin creates character with the subtlest of line. On Doctor Day, the book reminds us that some of the best healing comes from the love and support of those we care forâ€”even if they happen to be animals.
On any day, it reminds us that our greatest picture books only improve with each visitâ€”and that we cannot imagine a time when we did not know them.
Here’s a page from A Sick Day for Amos McGee:
Originally posted March 30, 2011. Updated for .