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Amos & Boris
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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 24, 2001
As far as I am concerned, William Steig should be given a Pulitzer Prize for his body of children's literature. I don't think any one author/illustrator has such a catalog of playful, meaningful, generous, witty, profound and literate books for young people. Amos and Boris is a distillation of all the great themes of life: friendship, courage, spiritual ecstacy, the question of an afterlife ("Would his soul go to heaven? Would there be any mice there?"), altruism and love.
As weighty as these issues are, they are simply part of the fabric of the wonderful story; there is nothing ponderous or cobbed on, no subtext. Steig's genius lies in his ability to create stories that appeal equally to small children, and to their parents and grandparents -- they ring that true on all levels.
The characters in this little book have become a part of my heart, as has William Steig. Don't miss it.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 6, 2001
I love William Steig's work, and this is one of his best picture books. Steig always fills his books with love and family and friendship and with a love of life. Rarely in any type of literature will you find a book about friendship better than this one. The story of "Amos and Boris" is about a mouse and a whale. When the mouse has an accident in his sailing ship, he is saved by the whale. The two strike up an immediate and deep friendship which will continue though the two are forced to be worlds apart. "Amos and Boris" is a remarkable book for the meaningful lessons it teaches. It is also remarkable for the beautiful prose, the humor, and for the marvelous pictures by Steig. "Amos and Boris" is truly a perfect picture book for children and for adults.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2005
Most folks are familiar with William Steig for having written Shrek. But there is soooo much more. "Dominic" and "Amos and Boris" were two of the most memorable books from my childhood. I received tham as gifts from my parents and read and re-read them countless times.

I had long since lost my copies from childhood but ordered new when I read that the author had passed away.

I approached reading them with great trepidation as I feared that they would not live up to my memory of them.

I should not have worried!

I decided to read "Amos & Boris" first as "Dominic" was my absolute favorite. I figured if I did not feel the same magic, I would avoid re-reading "Dominic" so as not to diminsh my recollection. So one afternoon, after arriving home from work, I sat down with "Amos & Boris" and began to read it out loud. By the time I was 3 pages from the end of the book, I was weeping.

These books are special beyond words and I hope that William Steig understood how much beauty he brought into the world writing them.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2002
This book is so charming and original and to top it off it is so poignant it almost brought tears to my eyes. The language is lyrical and the story is whimsical yet it explores issues such as lifelong friendship and our interconnectness. The mouse, Amos, heads off to sea and is so overwhelmed by its beauty and the feeling of oneness with creation that he rolls right off his boat and has to be saved by a friendly whale, Boris. Amos hopes he can repay his friend someday although it is hard to imagine how a little mouse could help a big powerful whale. Sure enough Amos will get his moment! This book is great for a range of ages and will delight both parents and children.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2003
I love this book, and feel that William Steig is one of the most underrated and insightful children's authors. I have asked many people who have children that I know whether they have read any of his books, and the usual answer I receive is "no". What literature they have been missing out on! My son really enjoys this book, and it is one of the first books with a substantial amount of text on each page that I have been able to convince him to sit still to hear (he's almost three).
The story of a mouse and whale who find solace in a most unlikely friendship is charming and very applicable to human relationships. I think this book can teach children that friendship can be found in a people who are not necessarily like ourselves...and that these friendships are often some of the most important and profound in our lives. Hopefully, children will take away from this book the message that not everyone is the same, and that so much can be valued and gained from finding friends in those who are different from all the rest.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2004
"Amos and Boris" is one of our family's favorites, bar none. The kids (ages 9 and 7) have hundreds of books, but none touches us the way this story does. All of Steig's work is exceptional, and this story is his crowning glory. A MUST READ!! I took it into the third grade classroom as a guest reader. At the end of the story, I asked the kids to raise their hands if they liked it. 27 hands shot up!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2005
This is a heart-warming tale of friendship between two unlikely animal characters. The use of animals in a story is classic Steig who delves into a fantasy world and leaves the human world behind. This is a great read aloud book for young children when studying the themes of friendship or survival.

The use of elaborate vocabulary also makes this a great story for independent older readers as well. Being written in the third person, the reader is able to experience the emotions of Amos. Steig illustrates this book beautifully with ink sketches and watercolor washes. Truely a terrific book!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2009
I personally like this book very much. It's based on very nice themes such as friendship, helping others, embracing life, etc. I also like the watercolor illustrations. My only issue with this book is that my five year old found it a little boring. The book is fairly earnest and he tends to like books that are sillier and have more colorful illustrations. I think this book might appeal more to children in the 6 - 9 age range because they might have more appreciation for its themes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2007
Even a little child can make a difference!

This is one of the most empowering concepts for a young child to grasp. It is the message at the heart of this story.

When the whale saves a mouse drowning at sea, we are happy to see a creature so big, helping one so little. But later, when the mouse is able to return the favor by saving the beached whale, we cheer him on!

Steig's prose is rich and draws you into the story. He gives us a phosphorescent sea, an immense starry sky, and a mouse's quivering daintiness. Artfully done as well, are his presentation of some very grown up concepts: having ambitions in life, whether we go to heaven when we die, and having to move on and say goodbye to a dear friend.

My son and I enthusiastically recommend this book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2005
I just received my copy of Amos & Boris today and really love it. The story is of two unlikely friends - a mouse and a whale - that both save the other's life at different times. I love William Steig's use of big words that really challenge the young child. The pictures are simple but wonderful. I can't wait to read it to my son when he gets a little older. (He's only 6 months right now.) Buy this book for your child's personal library - you won't be disappointed.
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