The Sloth Who Came to Stay (Margaret Wild, illus by Vivienne To, A&U)
Certain animals, such as lions and elephants, are ubiquitous in picture books—but there are hardly any with sloths in them. Perhaps Margaret Wild’s latest effort might start a new trend. It’s about Amy and her parents, the ‘speediest family in the world’. However, because they do everything so quickly there is no time left over for relaxation or play or laughter. One day Amy brings home a sloth (she just happened to find him hanging from a tree in the park). Seeing his matted hair, Amy’s mum rushes him into a bath but of course the sloth (being a sloth) has a long, leisurely bathe. Everything he does, in contrast to the humans, is slow. He takes so long eating dinner that Amy has time to talk about all the great things that happened to her that day. When the family decides to have a post-meal walk, the sloth’s lack of momentum allows previously unheard of acts: cat-patting, neighbour-chatting and star-gazing. Vivienne To’s energetic illustrations complement this story, which is suitable for pre-school children, as well as busy caregivers. It serves as a gentle reminder to adults to stop being at the mercy of their watches and be more mindful of their children and their environment.
Thuy On is a freelance arts journalist and reviewer and the books editor of the Big Issue