Finding an alien animal asleep in the tree in their garden, children question what it is, making a surprising discovery while overlooking the obvious.
When children spy a nonresponsive animal asleep in their tree, they know he’s unlike any animal they’ve ever seen. With the sleeping creature in tow (in a wagon), the curious kids get no help from their busy father. After eliminating elephants, tigers, horses, and bears and checking their books, the puzzled kids wonder if their creature may have “traveled for a very long time, from somewhere far away.” In a book about rain forests, they discover the mystery creature’s a sloth, indigenous to rain forests of Central and South America. Packing their sleeping sloth into a box with leaves and toys, the kids mail him to the rain forest, unaware their sloth has escaped from the local zoo despite copious hints in the illustrations. Relying on simple shapes and judicious use of white space, droll watercolor paintings reveal the back story of the sloth’s unexpected presence. The sloth remains blissfully asleep as the clueless kids ship him to the rain forest, oblivious to the posters and newspaper headlines announcing his escape from the zoo. Useful sloth facts and visual vignettes of the sloth as an astronaut, pirate, and knight add gravitas and levity, respectively.
A neatly paced, cleverly presented, humorous lesson in awareness. (Picture book. 3-7)