CALDECOTT MEDAL WINNER – 2011
Philip C. Stead, text
Erin E. Stead, illustrations
Roaring Brook Press, 2010
Interests: animals, zoo, zookeepers, being sick, friends
Also by this illustrator: And Then It’s Spring
Amos is a gentle soul, and at the zoo where he works he is a perfect friend to the animals. He plays chess with the elephant, lends his hankie to the rhino, and just sits quietly with the penguin, who is very shy. One day Amos is too sick to go to work so his animals friends take the city bus and come to visit him. They do all their usual activities together, share a pot of tea and then curl up around Amos’ bed for the night.
A warm, quiet story about being a good friend. Amos knows just what to do to make each individual animal happy, and they are eager to return the favour when he’s sick. An interesting look at different personalities and how different activities suit different folks – the turtle loves to race (and Amos lets him win), but the penguin just likes to sit with him in silence.
The illustrations suit the story perfectly – the colours are muted (block prints) and the detailed pencil work is masterful. In just a couple of pages Amos’ personality is given to us so completely that we feel we know him well from the start. The quiet dignity of the animals as they wait patiently for the city bus is also a treat.
Really lovely story with the most kindly, patient and gentle main character you could ever hope for. A ‘quieting down’ kind of book, perfect for bedtime.