Tuesday 5 September 2023

Super Sloth Episode 1: The Shar-Wolf of New York City

Super Sloth Episode 1: The Shar-Wolf of New York City by Aleesah Darlison, illustrated by Cheri Hughes. (Big Sky Publishing) PB RRP $14.99 ISBN 9781922896537

Reviewed by Kerry Gittins

Romeo Alexander Anton Silverio Fortez is a pygmy sloth. But not just any pygmy sloth. The night of his naming ceremony on the tiny island of Escudo where he was born, a fire rainbow erupted across the sky, lightning flashed, there was a shower of shooting stars and the rising moon looked magical.  Everyone knew they had just witnessed something incredible. As he grew, Romeo understood he was different to all the other sloths. He wasn’t slow like them. He was fast. Very fast. And he craved adventure and danger. He also developed hypnotic cuteness powers where all he had to do was look into someone’s eyes and they would forget what they had been doing and why they had been cross. He had become a Super Sloth!

The time came when Romeo knew he had to leave the island. He needed to be somewhere bigger, faster and with lots more happening than Escudo. New York City! It would be a bit scary and dangerous at first, but Romeo was up for it! This would be his destiny.

As soon as he arrived in New York, things began to happen. While he was admiring the famous Brooklyn Bridge, its pylons began to tilt, and the bridge began to sway. Everyone else ran the other way but Romeo ran towards the huge half shark, half wolf terrorising commuters. It held a young girl captive in one its enormous, clawed paws. A cheetah had also run towards the commotion. Together they freed the girl and the creature dived into the river below. Suddenly a pig appeared on a Vespa and yelled ‘Hop on!’ The pig, with the girl and Romeo in tow, sped away, with the Cheetah close behind. They quickly came to a cemetery and when the pig pressed a button on the Vespa, a huge panel of grass opened up beneath them revealing a ramp that led to the most amazing underground hideout.

The adventures of Romeo the Super Sloth, Tulip the Cheetah, Ham the Pig and Beth the young Crime Fighter had begun! Now all they had to do was find out where the mutant creature had come from, who had made it and how to stop them from creating more fearsome monsters. Look out evil Professor Weird Warp, your days are numbered!

This is a rollicking, fast-paced adventure story filled with incredible inventions, dangerous decisions, brave friends, superheroes, and very evil villains! Readers will be captivated from the opening page, with each chapter providing a thrilling ending to keep us wanting to find out more. Cheri Hughes’ superb black and white illustrations provide just the right amount of detail, leaving the reader with plenty of opportunities to use their own imaginations in the story. A highly recommended exciting new novel for ages 8 – 12. 

Teaching themes could include sloths, cheetahs, pigs, lemurs, superheroes, technology, inventions, villains, friendship, character traits, New York City and Brooklyn Bridge.

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