Monday, September 29, 2014

Sparky- a book review

I saw a sloth play soccer
with a tortoise and a snail.
They were all enthusiastic
and determined to prevail.

They were positively passionate
and truly in the groove,
and by watching very closely
I could almost see them move.
--Kenn Nesbitt

Today's featured book:

Title:  Sparky!
Author:  Jenny Offill
Illustrator: Chris Appelhans

Let's take a peek inside shall we?

About the book:

This incredible little book begins by the statement, "I want a pet."  The girl's mother's response?  "You can have any pet you want as long as it doesn't need to be walked or bathed or fed."  Wow! That is a serious request!  Where does one go to research such a demand?  The school librarian is just the person to get it done.  She goes through her library shelves and stops at the letter "S".... for "Sloth."  Together they discover that the sloth hardly moves, is very quiet and poses little trouble with upkeep to its owner.  Just the perfect pet for sure.  The little girl goes off to mail-order her new animal companion. 

When he arrives she names him Sparky.  Yes, Sparky, because hopefully that name will invigorate him and put some pep into his life.  He really doesn't seem to have much energy or seem to even care about getting the thrills and adventures out of the life around him.  Her neighbour Mary Potts fuels the fire by announcing that her cat can dance and her parrot knows twenty words.  Oh my!  What is a sloth owner to do?  She tries to play different games with him .... but he is not enthusiastic about participating and then she has a brilliant idea....she will put on a show, promising "countless tricks" from Sparky.  Na....that was to no avail too.

The illustrations are created with watercolour and pencil.  They are soft, muted and and the colour palette of brown, green and burgandy/red fits the text perfectly.  They capture the emotions flawlessly and feature the the artist's hand lettering which I really liked.  

What the girl discovers is a sloth is ....well....a sloth.  He loves to hang out in trees and be quiet and is very slow and loveable. The valuable lesson learned from her adorable sedentary pet?  He is perfect just the way he is.  He's a keeper for sure.  No returns. And HIS keeper she will be for a long, long time.

About the author:

Jenny Offill is the author of the novel Last Things, which was chosen as a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times First Book Award. She teaches in the writing programs at Queens University, Brooklyn College, and Columbia University.

 About the illustrator:

CHRIS APPELHANS has worked on several films. He was an illustrator and production designer for Coraline, an environment designer Fantastic Mr. Fox, and a visual development artist forThe Princess and the Frog. This is his first picture book.

Book Review Rating:  8 (Fantastic!)

Read on and read always....don't be slothful!  :)

No comments: