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Quote of the Month
When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
The Cream Rises to the Top-Caldecott 2011
It is not often that the art of woodblock printing draws so much attention in the world of children's literature. Erin E. Stead as a first time illustrator of a book has certainly elevated this form using it to compliment her graceful, gentle pencil drawings. Her tiny details of the mouse with an alarm clock under Amos' bed as he stretches wearing his bunny slippers endear readers to the elder man immediately. Careful readers will notice the mouse following Amos throughout his days. Stead's deliberate placement of additional small items add to the story's sheer sweetness.
Her husband, Philip C. Stead, has written a timeless tale of the power of friendship. Amos MGee is a zookeeper of extraordinary talents making time during his day to bond with his animal buddies; playing chess with the elephant, running races with the tortoise, sitting with the shy penguin in silent companionship, holding a hanky for the rhinoceros with allergy problems and at days end reading stories to the owl who is afraid of the dark.
One day when Amos does not feel so well and decides to stay home from work, his friends at the zoo wait and wonder. The next few pages are a wordless wonder showing them leaving the zoo, lining up at the bus stop and traveling to Amos' home. Each in turn engages Amos in their favorite activities which are slightly altered due to his illness. As this tale closes readers see Amos and his guests asleep curled around one another in affectionate repose.
A Sick Day for Amos McGee written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead is a snugly book; one that readers will want to wrap around themselves for warmth, comfort and love.