"Gotta Go!" Kyle Goes Alone by Jan Thornhill
"I HAVE TO GO," SAID KYLE.
KYLE WAS A THREE-TOED SLOTH. HE DID EVERYTHING SO SLOWLY THAT HE ONLY HAD TO "GO" ONCE A WEEK
AND THAT ONCE A WEEK WAS...
Little Kyle lives in the highest canopy of rain-forest trees. Slow-moving sloths never leave the safety of the treetops--except when they have to go. And it's a long trip down to potty.
Since he was born, his mom has taken him with her for the weekly necessities. But now Mom says something surprising.
"I THINK YOU'RE OLD ENOUGH TO GO ALONE."
"ALONE?" SAID KYLE.
Kyle has never been alone, away from touching distance with his mom. But now it's time for him to solo.
Kyle screws up his courage and starts down... and down... and down.
"I'M ALL ALONE!" CRIED KYLE.
"NO, YOU'RE NOT!" SQUAWKED ONE OF HIS NEIGHBORS, A RED-SPECTACLED PARROT.
Kyle stops to consider his next move. Up? Or down? But now he really has to go!
Mom calls out that he's doing just fine. Reassured, Kyle keeps climbing down. slowly, slowly, slowly. Whenever he begins to feel afraid, one of his tree neighbors--a green and red whipsnake, a tiger-legged monkey tree frog, and a leaf-cutter ant--is there to point out that he's not exactly alone.
But it is a long, slow, scary trip for a little sloth. Should he turn around and climb back up to Mom?
EXCEPT NOW HE REALLY, REALLY HAD TO GO!
When nature calls, even little sloths have to do their duty.
In a genuinely original plot for a "potty book," Jan Thornhill's Kyle Goes Alone (Owlkids Books, 2015), has her brave little arborial hero courageously arrive in the best tradition of "just in time," to the applause of his tree-dwelling neighbors.
Author Thornhill's well-paced narration builds quite a bit of suspense into Kyle's long and anxious solo descent, and artist Ashley Barron provides charming cut-paper collage illustrations which portray the protective coloration of the supportive neighbors and artfully partly conceal Kyle's watchful mother, camouflaged in the leaves, but staying close behind him as he worries his way down. Kyle Goes Alone manages to combine nature study and an exotic but all-too-familiar rite of passage that will have youngsters chuckling appreciatively all the way.
Thornhill appends two informative author's notes: "The Poop about Three-Toed Sloths" and "Camouflage: Hiding in Plain Sight" that provide useful jumping-off points for early childhood animal behavior studies.