In the Z-Z-Z-Zone! Sloth Slept On by Frann Preston-Gannon
HE WASN'T LIKE ANY OTHER CREATURE WE HAVE EVER FOUND IN OUR BACKYARD.
WE ASKED HIM HIS NAME. WE ASKED HIM WHAT HE WAS DOING IN OUR TREE.
BUT THERE WAS NO ANSWER. HE WAS ASLEEP.
The good-hearted kids load the creature up on their little red wagon, his relaxed limbs dangling, and set off to find the answers to their questions.
Dad is too busy to take a look at their passenger, so they move on, inside the house to do some research in their animal books, but they don't see anything like their shaggy, somnolent friend. He's certainly not an elephant or a zebra. He has big claws, but he doesn't look much like a bear. Maybe he's an astronaut alien for another galaxy far, far away!
However, lying unnoticed on Dad's armchair, the Daily News has a banner headline:
Then, in a book on the rain forest, their search pays off. He sleeps a lot, he moves slowly, or not at all, and he has shaggy fur. He's got to be... A SLOTH!
These thoughtful kids know the sloth's family must be worried, so they don't let the grass grow under their feet. They decide to send the sleepy sloth back to the nearest rain forest.
WE FOUND A NICE BIG BOX AND USED ALL THE STAMPS WE COULD FIND.
WE PICKED SOME LOVELY LEAVES FOR THE JOURNEY.
The kids dutifully haul the big box off to the post office, paying no attention to the signs posted along the way with pictures of the sloth. The caption says
TO THE ZOO!
But the sloth sleeps on as the plane wings its way to the the deepest, darkest jungle, where the postal workers leave the box under a tall tree. The monkeys are curious and pry open the box.
The sloth is awake! And he has a question for the monkeys.
"EXCUSE ME. WHICH WAY IS THE ZOO?"
Bears and sloths sleep on... and on. But not even Karma Wilson's Bear can sleep as much as a sloth, as Frann Preston-Gannon's latest, Sloth Slept On (Sterling Books, 2015), proves. Preston-Gannon's narrative is delivered by the would-be helpful kids in deliberative, deadpan style, while her dutiful little animal lovers are totally oblivious to the zoo's efforts to find their wandering sloth, an irony that won't be at all wasted on young readers.
Pair this one with Preston-Gannon's previous book about another rather exotic critter, How to Lose a Lemur (see review here), or either of these jolly sloth stories--Helen Lester's Score One for the Sloths (Laugh-Along Lessons) or Jenny Offil's Sparky! (read review here).