Though the story has the timelessness of an old classic, the muted woodblock print and pencil illustrations bring a freshness that perfectly complement this gentle, yet rather quirky, sweetly told tale.
We meet Amos, an elderly gentleman, and observe his early morning routine as he gets ready for work: he wakes up to his alarm, swings his legs out of bed, puts on his freshly pressed uniform, winds his watch, and sets a pot of water to boil.
Nothing out of the ordinary -- until he arrives at his job via the number five bus. He works at the City Zoo, where (among other things) he lovingly plays chess with the elephant, wipes the rhinoceros' runny nose, and reads stories to the owl (who's afraid of the dark).
But one day Amos wakes up with the sniffles, and realizes he is too sick to make it to his job at the zoo...
He swung his achy legs out of bed, curled them back again and said, "Ugh. I don't think I'll be going to work today."
So the animals catch the city bus to visit him.
They spend the whole lovely day keeping him company...the rhinoceros is even ready with a handkerchief.
Because that's what faithful friends do.