When Cory (Uncle Cory to Molly and Jacob) mentioned his fondness for sloths, I started sleuthing into what’s unique and intriguing about them. Turns out they are truly fascinating critters. It’s not a myth that they are slow-moving–and appear to be, well, on the lazy side. They literally sleep about 20 hours out of 24! And when they do move, it’s verrrry sloooowly, dragging their bodies along. Unless they are attacked by a predator; in that case, “sloths turn from sluggish to slugger, biting fiercely, hissing, slashing with their claws, and shrieking.” Interested enough to learn more to share with your family or students? National Geographic Kids has a great page dedicated to sloths.
This trio of sloth picture books will bring smiles to your kids’ faces (like the smiling 3-toed sloth!), and might make them as fond of sloths as Cory!
Sparky! by Jenny Offill, illustrated by Chris Appelhans
“You can have any pet as long as it doesn’t need to be walked or bathed or fed,” replies a tired Mom to a little girl who begs for a pet. So with the help of her friendly librarian, the young narrator finds “Sloth” under “S” and orders one. When he arrives, she tries to make him a bit more responsive, but finds he is best at playing games like “Statue” with her. Undaunted, she puts on a show: The Trained Sloth Extravaganza. But Sparky, her “trained” sloth, is true to character and the show is a bit dull. The text is simple, yet with moments of humor; the watercolor and pencil art is subdued but appealing. An off-beat tale of friendship. And winner of the Charlotte Zolotow Award.
“Slowly, Slowly, Slowly” Said the Sloth by Eric Carle
The sloth does everything slowly, slowly slowly. All the other animals in the rain forest ask him, “Why are you so slow?…so quiet, …so boring?” When one asks why he is so lazy, he does respond that he is not lazy; he just likes to do things slowly, slowly, slowly. With Eric Carle, you can’t go wrong with delightful collage images, and the foreword by Jane Goodall is a wonderful introduction to the Amazon rain forests and the role of sloths within their environment.
A Little Book of Sloth by Lucy Cooke
Through Cooke’s amazing photography, readers get to hang out with the residents of Avarios Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica, the world’s largest sloth orphanage. These rescued infants are incredibly adorable. The descriptions are well-phrased to delight the adults reading the book to little ones: “The Bradypus, or three fingered sloth, is the Muppet with the medieval haircut and Mona Lisa smile.” The photos are truly irresistible to all ages; the cuteness index is off the charts. The rescued infants and a few older companions were introduced in a documentary film, Too Cute! Baby Sloths, made by Cooke for TV’s Animal Planet. If you like this picture book–and this little flight on sloths–the documentary may be your next step!