Slowly, Slowly, Slowly Said the Sloth

We love Eric Carle here in our house, and this book has to be one of my son’s favorites at the moment.  He’s been fascinated by sloths since seeing them in Marianne Berkes’ Over in the Jungle, and this book gives all kinds of interesting information about these peaceful creatures in a forward by Jane Good all.  Did you know sloths sleep 15 to 19 hours a day and are so inactive that algae grows on their fur?  Can’t say that would be my camouflage of choice, but it works for them!

Eric Carle has created another artistic masterpiece, this time full of colorful images and animals from the rain forest.  The sloth’s fellow jungle friends wonder about the quiet creature who hangs upside down in the tree all day and night, and begin to ask him questions:  “Why are you so slow?  Why are you so boring?  Why are you so lazy?”  After listening and thinking for a long time, the sloth finally replies in a fabulously articulate fashion.  In what other children’s book can you find such fantastic vocabulary words as lackadaisical, unflappable, languid, stoic, impassive, lethargic, placid, and mellow?

I love the educational elements of Carle’s stories, and my son loves finding the rain forest creatures on each page.  Be sure to check out the complete list of rain forest animals that appear in the book on the inside back cover, including a peccary, puma, anaconda, caiman, coati, howler monkey, and more!  My son also loves to quote this book:  whenever I ask him to hurry up to do something, he almost inevitably replies (going as slowly as he can), “I’m going sloooowly, like a sloth.”  (It’s the only time he doesn’t move at top speed!)  Carle created this book to celebrate the beauty of the Amazon rain forest, and Goodall’s foreword further calls upon readers to help protect and conserve rain forest habitats and species such as the sloth around the world.

Perhaps most importantly, it reminds us of the importance of slowing down to enjoy our world every once in a while.  If your child loves animals or the colorful work of Eric Carle, add this great book to your library list.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we do

— Fred Williams