A Sick Day for Amos McGee

Written By: Philip C. Stead

Illustrated By: Erin E. Stead

Before Reading

Explore Illustrations and Text:

Take a moment to look over the front cover and illustrations throughout the book while encouraging your child to make predictions about the story. Ask questions like:

What do you notice on the front cover?

What do you think Amos McGee will do on his sick day?

How do you think Amos became friends with all of these animals

{Flip to a certain page} What is happening in this picture?

Being sick is no fun at all so let your child reflect on how it feels so that s/he can empathize with Amos. Ask, “How do you feel when you are sick? What helps you feel better? What do you like to do when you are sick? Let’s see what Amos does on his sick day.”

As You Read

Be animated as you read and add variety to the voices that you use. For example, have two voices for Amos: one for before he becomes sick and one for when he is sick, where he sounds congested and is sniffly. Also, promote curiosity by encouraging your child to ask questions if any arise as you read.

Making Connections:

In the beginning of the story, Amos McGee describes his daily routine and how he enjoys spending his time at the zoo. Make the connection between Amos and your child by asking about his/her own daily routine. Say that a daily routine is a list of things that you do everyday. Once you’ve read Amos’ routine, ask “What is your routine? What happens if you don’t do one of those things? For example, if you don’t eat breakfast, you will be hungry until lunchtime.” This will get your child thinking about his/her daily activity and how s/he performs a repetitive sequence of actions. For younger children, give a brief explanation of what his/her routine consists of by saying, “Everyday, we wake up, get dressed…”

After Reading

Summarize and Interpret:

Ask these questions to conclude your reading and gauge comprehension of the story:

What was your favorite part? Why?

Where does Amos McGee work? What does he like to do there?

When Amos got sick, what did the animals do?

Amos’ kindness is returned when he is visited by his animal friends on his sick day. For slightly older children, ask about kindness and friendship by asking, “Who are some of your friends? What do you do like to do with them? Have you ever helped when one of your friends wasn’t feeling well? How did it make you feel? How did it make him/her feel?”

Activity: Decorate a Kleenex Tissue Box

Adapted from Blissfully Domestic


Supplies: Scrapbooking or pattern papers, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, party horns, pom poms, plastic medicine cups for feet (or empty toilet paper rolls), crinkle cut paper (or yarn), scissors, and glue. (Optional: markers and glitter)

Next time you or your little one gets sick, whip out this fun, decorated Kleenex box that will hopefully bring a little light to your icky sick day.

  1. Wrap the box in the decorative paper and cut out the opening for the tissues.
  2. Glue on the eyes and other facial decorations. Use the pipe cleaner to form ears and glue them onto either side of the box.
  3. Add hair by gluing the paper shred or yarn to the top near the tissue hole. Use either the medicine cups or one-inch wide toilet paper rolls for the feet. Let your child add any other decorative touches. Your kleenex box is now ready for the next time there is a case of the sniffles in your home or at school.