A keen ear, a marvellous sense of situation and perfect insight into the nine-year old mind AND the surreptitious introduction of a giant two-toed sloth into an unreceptive household make sheer reading delight. A big, beautiful package wraps up a bit of Thurber, a touch of Beverly Cleary's Henry and Beezus! humor plus neatly pointed commentary on parent-child relationships and is something to gloat over. In spite of her parent's firm refusal to admit pets into their home, Julie Potter returns from a visit to relatives with Sampson, the sloth, when the local zoo is given up. She tries to keep him hidden until everything is auspicious for the announcement of his presence in her room, and, although she gets through the first evening -- even giving him a bath --, is nearly caught out when she tries to feed him. The night is not peaceful; the next day is worse; Mrs. Potter finds Sampson and joins Julie in wanting to keep him. Winning over daddy takes a bit more doing but, in spite of a nocturnal chase, a bathtub scare and a humiliating church service, Sampson becomes a welcome guest. Young readers and their olders will find grins to belly laughs in this and agree with Julie that slothful Sampson is wonderful.