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"Slowly, Slowly, Slowly" said the Sloth: 01/05/09
The strange slow creatures of the rainforest have in recent years become cute characters for children. There's Snook from It's a Big, Big, World on PBS and the title character of Eric Carle's 0142408476?"Slowly, Slowly, Slowly," said the Sloth.
Eric Carle's book has a foreword by Jane Goodall. In it she talks about her love for the unusual creatures and gives some basic facts about them. There are two species: two-toed and three-toed. They can rotate their heads 270° degrees. They sleep between fifteen and nineteen hours a day. They are threatened now by deforestation and Goodall is hoping Carle's book will help teach future generations to appreciate the sloth and all the rainforest enough to want to protect it.
"Slowly, Slowly, Slowly" said the Sloth has three parts to the story: the day in the life of a sloth, questions for the sloth from other rainforest animals and finally the sloth's answer. In the first part each page begins: "slowly, slowly, slowly." These slow pages are my favorite part of the story. It's restful and soothing while teaching about the sloth and the rainforest.
The second part reads more like Carle's The Very Busy Spider with the same sort of question being asked again and again. The questions all play on the double meaning of sloth. The animals of the forest ask him why he's so slow, so quiet, so boring and so lazy.
The book gets back on track by the final part when the sloth wakes and answers all those questions. He gives a soliloquy on the virtues of being a sloth. After a using a long list of adjectives to describe himself, he ends his speech with: "That's just how I am. I like to do things slowly, slowly, slowly."
As a sort of visual epilogue, Eric Carle includes a two page spread of all the animals who appear in the book. Each one is labeled. Both my kids love looking at the animals on these pages. Sometimes we go back and play find the animal in the story and sometimes we just talk about them.