Amos & Boris

by William Steig

Paperback, 2012



Call number




Square Fish - Macmillan


Befriended by a whale as he is drowning in the ocean, a mouse gets a chance to reciprocate years later in an equally unlikely situation.

User reviews

LibraryThing member jeriannthacker
Funny, touching story about the friendship between a mouse and a whale. Steig's illustrations never disappoint.
LibraryThing member brandonachey
The main focus of this story was on the theme of friendship and how even though friends can't always be close in proximity to one another, they are always close to one another when it counts. I love the story of this book and how each character's struggle ended up paralleling the other's. Both Amos
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and Boris were faced with the possibility of dying a lonely death in an environment they were not suited for and because of their kindness and generosity towards one another they were able to escape a terrible fate. Albeit this story can be a little verbose on some pages I think it is a great story with a very palpable messge that young children can understand.
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LibraryThing member kaida46
Another great tale from Steig. The author uses delightful phrases and illustrations in the telling of this tale which is one of the reasons why I love it. It is a tender story as well about dreams and a special friendship. (A bit long for younger children.)
LibraryThing member dnati
This is a touching book about an unexpected friendship between a mouse and a whale. While the pair have many physical differences, they share a common value of friendship and loyalty. They overcome some huge obstacles in their journey and even though they leave one another eventually, they will
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always remain close in a way.
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LibraryThing member ssajj
A friendship between a mouse and a whale is eloquently described in this story. Though the two have obvious differences, they are both loyal characters and both value the friendship they have with each other. The two characters meet when Boris the whale saves Amos the mouse who is lost at sea. Amos
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later returns the favor. The author does a nice job of highlighting the two very different animals' meaningful relationship.
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LibraryThing member ktextor
This book is a story that touches on friendship as well as not judging a book by it's cover. It's about a mouse who sets sail on the open sea and while he is sleeping he falls into the water. As he is trying to stay alive a whale comes and saves him. The two become friends on the travel back to
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land and the mouse says he will never forget his friend and find a way to help him one day. The whale cannot believe that a small little mouse could ever help him but he stumbles upon some trouble himself and his mouse friend comes to the rescue! Very cute book for children when talking about friendship.
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LibraryThing member madamepince
I love William Steig, but the illustrations are just too small for a good read aloud.
LibraryThing member DayehSensei
This a touching, at times humorous tale about the unlikely friendship of a mouse and a whale. Amos and Boris find that they are both able to help the other in unexpected ways. Steig's language is sophisticated, yet child friendly.
LibraryThing member SABC
Befriended by a whale as he is drowning in the ocean, a mouse gets a chance to reciprocate years later in an equally unlikely situation.
LibraryThing member curiousbutterpants
It's a very rare thing to see such a striking friendship between a mountain-of-a-mammal whale and a mote-of-a-mammal mouse. But for Amos and Boris, it's perhaps the most natural thing ever.

In a book about dreams and aspirations, life and the bonds of everlasting friendships, Amos the mouse finds
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himself lost at sea - only to be rescued by Boris the whale, a serene, friendly creature on his way to a conference of whales off the Ivory Coast of Africa. What follows is something many authors strive for but few perhaps achieve: a perfect, endearing portrait of a friendship that knows no bounds.

Steig envelopes us into the story with his striking, signature sketched illustrations - this time, often filling up whole pages - and the experience is almost pitch-perfect. We feel the emotional echoes of a friendship shared, from the quiet exchanges and the familiarity that grows with one another's cues, to the bigger, nobler displays of sacrifice for friends. We sense that a small mouse like Amos would never be able to help his whale friend out in any big way, but we're delighted and surprised and feel it's perfectly natural when he does - and with that noble act done, we watch with great joy as they part again, forever to be great friends.

Ah, if only every mouse like Amos, we feel, could have as great a whale friend as Boris, and vice-versa. It's the way it should be.
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LibraryThing member elizabethhart
Amos and Boris is a story about everlasting friendship and helping others in times of trouble. Amos is a mouse that falls off of a boat and is saved by a whale named Boris. The two become lifelong friends despite their drastic differences. Later, Amos returns the favor by saving Boris with the help
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of two elephants after he has become stranded on land. Themes of diversity and friendship surround the story when the reader discovers that two animals with practically nothing in common can become devoted friends. I enjoyed this book for its overall themes, beautiful illustrations, and embedded humor – “Are you sure you’re a mammal,’ Amos asked. ‘You smell more like a fish to me.”
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LibraryThing member annabelle5585
Amos and Boris was one of my favorite stories to read for this assignment. This charming tale is about adventure, an unlikely friendship between, and all those questions we ask ourselves when faced with death. It was quite a deep read for a young audience, but told so beautifully that any child
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would be delighted by these characters.

In William Steig's Amos and Boris, Amos a young mouse, was fascinated by the sea. So he built his own boat and set sail. After several days of successful sail, Amos fell off the boat and his boat sailed away. Alone in the sea, Amos feared that he would die. At last, a large whale named Boris appears. Boris happily takes Amos back to shore, saving his life. Through this most unlikely meeting of a whale and a mouse, they become the best of friends. Years later, Amos and Boris meet again, and this time, Amos saves Boris' life.

I absolutely adored this tale about a very rare friendship. Students will take away a very important message that just because someone is very different than you, doesn't mean they can't be a wonderful friend. Steig uses unfamiliar vocabulary words in this child's story but with supportive context clues surrounding their meaning. I think it puts readers in a great position to seek out the meaning of these words. Even I had to look up certain words like "mote" and "phosphorescent". I think this is a beautifully written story about friendship, above all, and what it means to truly be a great friend.
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LibraryThing member rfary1
The main characters are a mouse and a whale who forge a friendship after Amos's (the mouse) boat crashes and Boris (the whale) saves him. Amos later repays Boris's kindness when Boris is beached by a hurricane many years later. Amos gets two elephants that push Boris back into the water, therefore
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saving Boris. I love the descriptive language used in the book, "whales spouting luminous water.." and "a little speck of a living thing in the vast living universe" I really felt like I was there. The illustrations are very simple but also adorable.
This is an adorable story about friendship among two unlikely creatures, and the main theme of the book is friendship and what it means to be a friend. It teaches the lesson that looking different doesn't mean friendship can't form. This book can start a conversation in the classroom about what characteristics a good friend has and what it takes to have a true and lasting friendship.
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Originally published in 1971, William Steig's Amos & Boris, which offers a delightful oceanic remake of the classic Aesopic fable of The Lion and the Mouse, is as close to perfect as a picture-book can be, pairing an engaging story about an unlikely friendship between a mouse and a whale, with
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charming illustrations that are all the more evocative for their simplicity. The text is intelligent, and its author assumes that his readers, young though they may be, are likewise intelligent. Describing his murine hero's voyage of discovery on the wide ocean, Steig writes: "One night, in a phosphorescent sea, he marveled at the sight of some whales spouting luminous water; and later, lying on the deck of his boat gazing at the immense, starry sky, the tiny mouse Amos, a little speck of a living thing in the vast living universe, felt thoroughly akin to it all."

That thrilling sense of connection, to the world around, and to the very cosmos; that feeling of being akin to all life; is one that comes to us all, from time to time (or so I have always imagined), an epiphanic experience made more powerful by the fact that it often remains inchoate - sensed, felt, but not fully conceptualized or expressed. That Steig so effortlessly evokes that kind of experience, using a sophisticated vocabulary that some might deem too advanced for picture-book fare, before blithely moving on with his narrative, makes for a brilliant storytelling episode - one of many in this little masterpiece of the genre! Poignant, without ever descending into any kind of overt emotional manipulation or tricksiness; heart-warming, though utterly lacking in sentimentality; and deeply satisfying, though the conclusion of the story is left somewhat open-ended, Amos & Boris is a superb picture-book, one I am very sorry not to have discovered earlier in life. I suspect I would have read it again and again, as a girl...
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LibraryThing member dukefan86
This is one of the sweetest childen's stories ever! Two unlikely friends in Amos and Boris end up helping each other out, one in the ocean and the other on land. The story is really charming, and the illustrations are very cute. There's a nice lesson in this book for children, but it'll make adults
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smile too!
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LibraryThing member Vanessamom25
Amos the mouse and Boris the whale: a devoted pair of friends with nothing at all in common, except good hearts and a willingness to help their fellow mammal. They meet after Amos sets out to sail the sea and finds himself in extreme need of rescue. And there will come a day, long after Boris has
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gone back to a life at sea and Amos has gone back to life on dry land, when the tiny mouse must find a way to rescue the great whale.

Amos & Boris is a 1971 New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year, Notable Children's Book of the Year, and Outstanding Book of the Year.
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LibraryThing member lpierson14
Amos, a mouse and Boris, a whale from an unlikely friendship. Amos gets stranded at sea and Boris kindly comes along to help Amos. On their way to return Amos home the two become close friends both realizing the limitations of their friendship. Once back to Amos's home the two part friends with
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Amos offering help if Boris ever needs it. Boris does not see how this could ever be possible and the two part ways. One day as a result of a big storm Boris end up beached on the same beach Amos lives on and resourcefully Amos is able to repay his friend. It is heart warming and engaging story. There is foreshadowing and it might be good to use with having students make predictions.
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LibraryThing member wichitafriendsschool
Amos and Boris, by William Steig, is an artfully written and beautifully illustrated story of an unlikely friendship between a mouse and a whale, and how they can use their differences to help each other. The descriptive language and use of alliteration makes Amos and Boris an excellent storybook
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to use as an example in a creative writing setting. The personification, figurative language, and natural rise-and-fall of the plot makes Amos and Boris an easy classroom example for many parts of literary elements. I personally loved the captivating illustrations and the adorable storyline between these unlikely friends helping each other survive.
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LibraryThing member melodyreads
a story, a story ... long and delicious
LibraryThing member mtrees
This is a picture book about a mouse and a whale. Although it is a picture book it is quite long and each page does consist of many sentences. The story goes through the mouse and the whale who become friends by helping each other. The two end up both helping each other in the end as well as
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learning about each other. This is a good book for more advanced readers who can comprehend more complex stories but who also enjoy picture books.
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Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

32 p.; 9.44 x 8.82 inches




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