Sloth and Squirrel in a Pickle – Cathy Ballou Mealey

Illustrations – Kelly Collier

Sloth and Squirrel are in a bit of a pickle. 677.5 jars of pickles, to be exact.

They decide to work as pickle packers to earn the money to buy the bike they want but things don’t quite go to plan. Teamwork can be a bit tricky when one member of your team is super speedy and the other is s-l-o-w.

This is a cute picture book with two very different friends. This story shows our new friends working together towards a common goal, using initiative and thinking outside the box to solve a problem.

The illustrations highlight how fast Squirrel is, how slow Sloth is and how expressive both friends are.

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Thank you so much to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

A speedy squirrel and a sleepy sloth try to get the job done in this funny, heartwarming tale of two loveable, but unlikely, friends.Though Sloth and Squirrel are good friends, they have different ways of doing things – and different speeds of doing them. So, when Squirrel gets them jobs as pickle packers to earn money for a new bike, things don’t go according to plan. It seems that the contrasting skill sets of a fast-as-lightening squirrel and a slow-as-molasses sloth can make for a mess of an outcome, and before long, the friends are shown the pickle factory’s door, along with the 677 1/2 jars of pickles they packed incorrectly! Now the pair are bicycle-less, with only pickles to show for themselves. Or so they think – until the resourceful pair come up with an ingenious plan!

This delightful story from Cathy Ballou Mealey is a celebration of friendships of all kinds and a testament to ingenuity and hard work. Packed with funny details that aren’t in the text, Kelly Collier’s engaging illustrations are full of personality and silly, emotionally expressive humour. Together they create a hilarious picture book that’s perfect for a fun and lively read-aloud. At the same time, the positive themes in the book highlight a growth mindset and character education lessons on teamwork, perseverance and initiative.

Sherlock Bones #2: Sherlock Bones and the Sea-Creature Feature – Renée Treml

In Sherlock Bones and the Natural History Mystery, we met Bones, a skeletal tawny frogmouth, and Watts, a stuffed blue Indian ringneck parrot. This unconventional team are both exhibits in the state Natural History Museum. In the first book we also met Grace, a chocolate loving raccoon.

There’s talk of a swamp monster who may have “squid-napped” the octopus. Our new mystery takes place in a brand new exhibit, Reef to Shore. There’s definitely something fishy going on in there.

I know, I know … But I couldn’t help myself. In my defence, the author started it!

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Naturally Bones, Watts and Grace take it upon themselves to investigate. Along the way they meet a new friend, Nivlac the octopus. Our intrepid trio navigate their way around touch pools and the mangroves searching for clues. It will take teamwork, keen observation skills and some cardio.

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Nevertheless, our team is keen to solve any mystery that comes their way, even the mystery of how to solve a Rubik’s Cube. Granted, Grace is slightly more interested in her search for chocolate than she is in solving the bigger mysteries but you can’t blame her for that.

If you keep an eye out for visual clues you’ll probably be able to solve the mystery for yourself. Observant readers will learn the identity of the thief from the first book early in this sequel so you may want to read them in order to avoid spoilers.

Like the first book, you’ll accidentally learn as you make your way through this one, with some interesting facts about cryptozoology and some of the animals you meet along the way.

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Thank you so much to NetGalley and Etch, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Sherlock Bones’ home, the Natural History Museum, has added an exciting new exhibit, Reef to Shore, that includes a mangrove forest and shallow coral reef habitat, with touch tanks in between. When Sherlock overhears a that a swamp monster has been sighted, he gathers his team to investigate. At first Sherlock Bones suspects Nivlac, a quirky octopus with a talent for camouflage – and tank pranks.

But then, loud bellowing leads Bones and team to the mangroves, where they find a horrifying long-haired green beast! Can they escape the creature – or is it too late for our beloved frogmouth bird skeleton and his ragtag mystery-solving team?

Life in the Sloth Lane: Slow Down and Smell the Hibiscus – Lucy Cooke

Sloths!!! One of my very favourite animals! I can’t see a photograph of a sloth and not smile. I especially love three-toed sloths, those gorgeous creatures with perpetual smiles and great affection for eyeliner.

I’m a huge fan of Lucy Cooke’s previous book, A Little Book of Sloth, so when I found out she had another book coming out I was jumping up and down calling, “Pick me! Pick me!”

Filled with the most adorable photos of baby sloths, adult sloths, two-toed sloths, three-toed sloths, sloths hanging out in trees, sloths in buckets and hammocks, interesting information about sloths and peace inducing quotes, I loved Life in the Sloth Lane.

Sloths teach us many things, including:

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff, or any stuff for that matter if you’re a three-toed sloth and don’t sweat at all.
  • The importance of rest. They rest about 70% of the day. Now that’s the life!

My favourite quote of the book is by Chade-Meng Tan:

“Because inner peace and inner joy are independent of worldly circumstances, they are available to you anyplace and anytime.”

This would make a lovely gift or coffee table book. Anyone who needs a smile should enjoy plenty while reading this book. I was ready to reach through the pages, pull out some sloths and give them all huge hugs, most likely while sitting in that super comfy looking hammock.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Workman Publishing Company for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Why are sloths always smiling?

Perhaps it’s because they’ve mastered the art of taking it slow in a world whose frenzied pace is driving the rest of us crazy. Here, in a mindfulness book like no other, heart-tuggingly cute photographs of these always-chill creatures are paired with words of wisdom, all to inspire us to slow down, stop to enjoy the little things, and come up relaxed, centered, and smiling.