The Sloth Who Slowed Us Down by Margaret Wild

Though this book was published in 2017, I just discovered it, and it is incredibly applicable to our lives over the past few months: The Sloth Who Slowed Us Down by Margaret Wild, illustrated by Vivienne To. Over the past few months, we’ve been forced to slow down. Overnight, many of us found ourselves with clear calendars, no extracurriculars, no social outings, nowhere to go… Similarly, Amy’s family has to slow down abruptly when she brings a sloth home from the park. Read on to learn more about this adorable, yet impactful story!

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“Amy’s family was the speediest family in the world… There was never any time to talk or play or laugh or laze…” Wild opens with these words, accompanied by To’s frazzled-feeling illustrations of rush, never-ending to-dos, and failed multitasking. Then, one day, Amy finds a sloth at the park and brings him home to her family. (Fortunately, other than remarking that he needs a bath, Amy’s parents don’t seem phased at all about their new and unusual pet!).

And this sloth is the best thing that has ever happened to Amy’s family. As you’ve likely guessed based on the fact that he’s a sloth, Amy’s family slows down. It starts with the first family dinner, when Sloth eats so slowly that Amy has time to tell her family all about her day — and we can tell from her parents’ reaction that this is an unusual occurrence! Sloth lives with Amy and her parents for “three glorious weeks,” but changes their lives forever. Though he finds a new family that needs him more, Sloth leaves a lasting impact on Amy’s family.

Be sure to take in the details in this one! From the names of books written on their spines to the fact that Mom and Dad stop wearing their watches over the course of sloth’s influence, To’s illustrations could tell this story without any words. And, they’re delightfully colorful, warmly accessible, and nicely diverse!

So, I think it’s a fair guess that much like Sloth, COVID-19 has slowed you and your family down. What is one new habit that you hope to take with you as life slowly makes its way back to “normal”? For us, my husband and I have started to sit on the porch for just a few minutes (sometimes it’s even as short as 30 seconds, other times it’s as long as five minutes) before the girls wake up and the chaos of the day starts. It’s so refreshing to start our days with peace and connection, waving to neighbors and listening to the birds!

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