Idioms and Other Sick Stories

What do you do when you wake up with sniffles and sneezes and you’re supposed to go to work?

In A Sick Day for Amos McGee written by Philip E. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead, Amos McGee stays home from his job at the zoo when he’s feeling ill. He is pleasantly surprised when his zoo friends, penguin, elephant, owl, rhinoceros, and tortoise, come for a visit and take care of him. This is a delightful story, and Erin Stead has created beautifully detailed illustrations, using soft colors that continue to soothe as you turn each page. No wonder it was awarded the 2011 Caldecott Medal!

But what if you can’t stay home like Amos McGee and you have to drag yourself out of bed and go to work? Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and do what you have to do. That’s what I did this week. When I greeted the kindergarteners as they filed into the library, I was immediately asked, “What’s wrong with your voice?” My reply, “I have a frog in my throat.”

That cracked up the entire kindergarten class. They had never heard of that expression. Since I rule the roost, I took advantage of the teachable moment and marched over to the 400 section of the library and pulled out There’s a Frog in My Throat! by Loreen Leedy and Pat Street. I introduced the word, idiom. The kindergarteners cracked up again. “Idiom,” I repeated, “not idiot.” I shared the most common idioms and had them draw pictures to accompany them. It was a mini lesson and an activity all in one. How’s that for killing two birds with one stone? It turned out to be a pretty good day even though I was feeling under the weather.

More of my favorite sick stories:

Bear Feels Sick by Karma Wilson (Margaret K. McElderry, 2007),  A Bad Case of the Stripes by David Shannon (Blue Sky Press, 1998), Imogene’s Antlers by David Small (Crown Books for Young Readers, 2010)

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