Monday 21 November 2022

The Speedy Sloth

The Speedy Sloth by Rebecca Young, illustrated by Heath McKenzie (Scholastic) HB RRP $17.99 ISBN: 9781760974893

Reviewed by Dannielle Viera

It’s time for The Great Race, and Spike the sloth is ‘ready to run’. She has done all the hard work in the gym, and made sure that her shoelaces are tied. Although no sloth had ‘ever run faster before’, Spike is overtaken by a ‘moonwalking meerkat’, ‘a daydreaming cougar’, and even ‘a hare and a tortoise’. Spike comes last in the race, but she doesn’t mind – she considers herself a winner because she didn’t quit and she made it to the finishing line. 

Rebecca Young’s fun rhyming story will appeal to all kids aged three and older who struggle to achieve their goals. Spike’s confidence is irresistibly infectious, and her positive attitude despite losing the race will inspire youngsters to see the silver lining in all situations. The light and lively text ensures that this book is a joy to read aloud again and again.

Heath McKenzie’s cute and colourful illustrations will captivate youngsters instantly. His characterisation of cerise-furred Spike is charming, especially her many different facial expressions during the race – littlies will understand exactly how she is feeling at all times. Amusing action leaps from left to right across every spread, drawing readers through the book.

Upbeat and unashamedly sweet, The Speedy Sloth has deservedly been chosen as the National Simultaneous Storytime Book for 2023. Kids all around Australia will cheer on Spike as she succeeds in making it to the end of the exhausting course, discovering in the process the importance of celebrating life’s small wins. 

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