A quintessentially laid-back sloth is mistakenly delivered to the Zoom instead of her expected destination, the Zzzzzoo.
It was a wrong turn (as the endpapers show). At the Zoom, “The monkeys climbed so fast they forgot to stop at the treetops. / And the parrots flew so fast their tails drew rainbows across the sky.” Over an appropriately attenuated period of weeks, the sloth tries to befriend a cheetah, those monkeys, and a zeal of zebras—but all rush off with only the briefest of exchanges. Just as the sloth resigns herself to loneliness—“No one here has any time”—she meets a snail. Evidencing their perfectly matched modi vivendi, it takes four funny panels for the sloth to mosey down to the snail’s philodendron—the same amount of time for the snail to travel the length of a leaf. “And as the setting sun adorned the sky,” they share a snack and a cool drink. Predictably, their contentment attracts the attention of the other animals, who “[slow] down… / …just long enough, that is, to become fast friends.” Perfectly pitched for preschoolers who are just beginning to understand jokes, Becker’s turns of phrase are well-cadenced for read-alouds. Notably, the sloth never loses her cool over the other animals’ ways. Orbie’s appealing illustrations evoke those of Bill Peet.
A gentle lesson that positive alternatives to hurtling mindlessly through life do exist—even at the Zoom. (Picture book. 3-6)