by Jenny Offill, illustrated by Chris Appelhans
After repeatedly saying no to every pet suggested, a little girl’s mother finally agrees to let her get a pet, as long as it doesn’t need to be walked, bathed, or fed. Sounds impossible? Not when a helpful school librarian guides our pet loving narrator in the right direction by handing her the S volume of the Animal Encyclopedia. Soon, a sloth arrives at the little girl’s house via Express Mail. She soon learns that sloths really don’t do much of anything however, in order to impress a classmate, she tries to teach the Sparky some tricks to show off at an upcoming performance. Unfortunately, the passive sloth is not very enthusiastic about anything that involves movement, causing our concerned narrator to worry that her upcoming sloth slow may be in jeopardy.
Cute book! I got a lot of laughs out of this story, particularly the illustrations of Sparky the sloth just sitting there motionless on each page. His owner, our young narrator, is so determined at first to turn the sloth into something he’s not but, fortunately, by the end of the story seems to have come appreciate Sparky for the lethargic creature he is. This will be fun to do in a pet themed unit where we can tie in discussion/activities about different types of pets, as well as discussion about how some animals (particularly wild animals) may not be good pets!