Thursday, September 20, 2018

Can We Keep Him?: The Sloth Who Slowed Us Down by Margaret Wild

Amy's family was the speediest in the world. They walked fast, drove fast, shopped fast, ate fast.

There was never any time to talk, play, laugh, or laze.

It's life in the fast lane for Amy and her family until she finds a sloth hanging in a tree in the park and brings him home with the usual plea. Mom shudders while she watches her daughter pick bugs from his fur and orders up a bath for Sloth post haste.

It's a long, slow bath because...

... that's the way sloths do everything.

Mom and Dad are waiting impatiently at the dinner table.

"Chop Chop!" frets Mom.

But of course Sloth eats very, very slowly, savoring each bite and chewing carefully. While her parents cool their fidgety feet waiting, Amy tells them everything about her day, even the first prize trophy she won (naturally) in a race. Her parents are pleasantly surprised to hear it all.

Then Dad announces that there is just enough time for a fast jog around the block. But with Sloth along, nothing is done fast. The run turns into a slow stroll in which Amy and her parents have time to visit with the neighbors and their cat, toss a stick for a dog to fetch, and gaze as the moon and watch for Mars to rise in the sky. Back home, Amy gives Sloth a bedtime hug.

"Thank you," she whispered. "This has been the best day of my life!"

Sloth stayed for three glorious weeks.

His stay has been short, but his work here is done, and it is time for Sloth to move in with the new next door neighbors who are the latest fastest family in the world, in Margaret Wild's just published The Sloth Who Slowed Us Down (Abrams Books, 2018), in a theme that urges families to take time to enjoy life and each other. Artist Vivienne To's little Sloth is charming, with a sweet face and an an adorable curl of moss growing on his head, conspiring to slow down Amy's fast family, and her illustrations feature funny sight gags such as Mom reading a Slow Cooking book and Amy perusing 1001 Varieties of Moss, as all of the family enjoying a swim and a singalong in the park. Says School Library Journal, "Large, humorous illustrations and a timely message in these days of hectic activity make this a natural storytime choice."

And if you're in the slow mood for more sloth stories, there's Samantha Berger's Snoozefest and Frann Preston-Gannon's Sloth Slept On. or Eric Carle's "Slowly, Slowly, Slowly," said the Sloth (see more reviews here.)

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