If I Had a Sleepy Sloth
“An easygoing book to match the easygoing spirit of the sloth as portrayed by Dawnay, If I Had a Sleepy Sloth is a gentle choice to ease into a peaceful naptime.”
Enough of asking for a new puppy or a cute kitten, or even a turtle or a lizard for a pet. Our young protagonist wants a chill and easygoing sloth. Her own options are far more exotic—she is choosing from a more wild selection of tiger, shark, or kangaroo. A sloth, she argues, is more to her liking, even though our girl is anything but lazy.
Sloths have tricks, attributes, and skills, too—all of which add to the many reasons why our young lady justifies her pick. “People always rush around—I want to stop and stare. Imagine being so relaxed that moss grew in your hair!” Tight branch gripping, staying “seriously” still, watching the world go by. Harboring moths, not sweating, eating high up in the trees, always looking content—all perfect pastimes. And sleeping, or course, would be easy with a drowsy sloth to snuggle up to and sing a lullaby with.
A light and simple story, Sleepy Sloth uses a general rhyming scheme to try to mix facts with fiction. We learn a wee bit about the nature of sloths (they only have to pee once a week!), but more so about the imagination of the girl (they could meditate together in a tree house or loll about in a hammock while the laundry air-dries in the breeze). Even with the slow disposition of her pet, the girl manages to get a lot out of the relationship.
Barrow’s artwork is colorful and graphic, making use of facial expressions and body language whenever he can. On a “racing” page, a bicyclist, a taxi car, and a delivery truck are all lined up at a crosswalk waiting somewhat impatiently for the turtle (in the lead), the snail (in second place) and the leisurely sloth (far behind) to cross the road. The cyclist is poised, determined and aggressively waiting for the GO! signal. The taxi driver is mystified by the critters in the road, and the deliveryman is downright frustrated by the delay. The girl, too, seems dismayed that her sloth is holding everyone else up. The design is clean and bright, minimalist yet effective.
An easygoing book to match the easygoing spirit of the sloth as portrayed by Dawnay, If I Had a Sleepy Sloth is a gentle choice to ease into a peaceful naptime.