Eric Carle's signature collage illustrations introduce young readers to the sloth, as well as to other beautiful animals in the Amazon rain forest. All of the creatures are curious as to why the sloth does everything so slowly, from swinging through the trees to eating, and even falling asleep. He doesn't run fast, hunt for food, or swing quickly through the trees like all the others. Sloth is unfazed by all of the questions until one suspicious looking jaguar asks him why he is so lazy. Young children will learn quite a bit by his response in this classic book about sloths.
Best Children's Books about Sloths for Lazy Day Reading
Sloths seem to be very popular characters in children's sloth books. Perhaps it's their reputation for being lazy that makes them such endearing creatures. Or maybe the fact that they are incredibly agile, climbing and swinging effortlessly from branches. Truth is, there is so much more than meets the eye with these wild creatures that often get a bum rap. These picture books about sloths will give your kids a glimpse into the lives of these fascinating animals.
More Fun Animal Books for Kids
Sloth Books for Babies and Toddlers
Bunny is full of energy and wants to play. Sloth wants to do what he does best- sleep! This cute board book for toddlers may feel a little bit like your own bedtime routine. Fortunately, sloth wins this battle and the best friends finally nod off to sleep together.
A fun spin on Rock-a-Bye Baby about a baby sloth whose cradle is rocked by a breeze. His mama comes to the rescue and soothes her baby sloth to sleep. A unique bedtime book for toddlers who will fall asleep listening to this story about a sleepy sloth.
A darling story about a baby sloth who finds every excuse to delay bedtime. Mommy Sloth insists it's time for sleep, but Baby Sloth must first have a snack, sing to the birds, and say goodnight to the moon. The setting may be a bit different, but the litany of excuses will ring familiar to parents of little ones who are uncooperative at bedtime.
This little sloth has a stubborn streak when it comes to going to sleep. Some of this furry fellow's procrastination antics around bedtime may seem a bit familiar. Little readers are encouraged to interact with the sloth by patting his back or singing him a lullaby. A very cute, original bedtime story for toddlers!
A chunky, lift-the-flap board book about sloths perfect for preschoolers. Each flap reveals a different fact about these slow creatures with long claws. The vibrant pictures capture the essence of a lush rain forest where little readers get a peak at what life is like for these super slow animals.
Sometimes being lazy and slow has its advantages. In a jungle that is abuzz with wildlife activity, sloth hangs about observing all the wonders around him. He is finally rewarded for his keen eyes and lethargic nature with a maginificent site. This sturdy board book is filled with photographic images of the cutest sloths around.
An inspiring little board book about the importance of appreciating the little things in life. Little ones are encouraged by sloths and other critters who savor the beauty around them. Positive affirmations fill the pages of this delightful book that will resonate with adults as well as with the toddlers on their laps.
This darling sloth baby book has a finger puppet that pokes through die cut holes. Babies and toddlers will love learning about what sloths do best- nap! Colorful pictures bring the sloth's natural habitat to life in this interactive little book.
Kids' Books About Sloths for Kindergarten and Up
Most of the children's sloth books on this list are fictional stories are about bedtime, which seems fitting since these animals are commonly thought to be slow, lazy and sleepy. These traits are humorous and perhaps even deeply appealing for exhausted parents juggling work, household responsibilities and raising busy little kids. We do encourage you to add some non-fiction books about sloths so your children can learn what makes these animals so unique.
Sasha's middle name, Patience, is a bit of a misnomer. She moves at such a frenzied pace, jumping from one thing to the next without taking time to enjoy any of it. Her attention span is short and her impatience with just about everything is troubling. Fortunately, she forms an unlikely bond with a creature who behaves in an opposite manner- Mr. Sloth. He doesn't begin a new endeavor until he has finished his prior activity, and exhibits a slow mindfulness that catches Sasha's eye. A charming picture book about a sloth that has something to teach kids and adults alike.
This fun book about a sloth will teach kids that anyone can don a cape and be a superhero. Sloth may not be able to fly and he is certainly not fast on his feet. But the things he does do well, like camouflage amongst the leaves and move very slowly, prove to be assets. One day an anteater steals some mangoes, so it's up to Super Sloth to capture this thief and return the fruit to its rightful owner! Kids will laugh out loud at the sloth's unconventional, albeit effective, methods for saving the day.
This is the story of a sloth who, some would claim, is not the right fit for his job. His name is Slothy Claus and it's his mission to deliver toys and chocolates to little girls and boys on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, his sluggish demeanor prevents him from completing his mission. When lots of little girls and boys wake up on Christmas morning, they find that their stockings are empty. This heartwarming story is a gentle reminder to children that Christmas has meaning beyond receiving presents.
This is children's book about a sloth that teaches a valuable lesson to readers. The narrator of this book orders a sloth for a pet. It's a mail-order service, and when the pet finally arrives, the owner is a bit disappointed. The sloth can't do tricks or really anything at all for that matter. But maybe he isn't as useless as he seems at first. Companionship may be the best gift of all.
This photographic, non-fiction book about sloths is one of the best for young children who want to learn about this slow-moving animal. Phenomenal photographs feature sloths living their best lives, along with other creatures, in tropical rain forests. Easily accessible text accompanies each photo, and then a sidebar is packed with supplemental information for readers eager to learn more. Kids will read all about their habitats, what they eat, and how they stay safe from predators.
An adorable little sloth with a very active imagination has a hard time settling into peaceful slumber. Images of slithering snakes and prowling jaguars fill his mind with worry. Fortunately, his loving mother teaches him how to calm his anxious mind and shrink his fears so they don't interfere with sleep. This picture book about a sloth is great for little ones overcome with a bout of bedtime anxiety.
This photographic gift book is perfect for anyone who needs a reminder to slow down and enjoy life. Every page features a picture of sloths basking in their natural habitats. Words of wisdom that accompany each photo will inspire readers, young and old, to relax and appreciate the little things. This appealing book about sloths also has some interesting information about these happy creatures.
A realistically illustrated non-fiction picture book about the life of a sloth named Perezoso. This three-fingered sloth lives in the rain forest. Readers will get a glimpse at her life in a natural habitat, like searching for food and staying safe from predators. Children will also learn how she gives birth to her offspring. This book is chock full of terminology and includes a lot of detailed information about sloths.
Andy is an anteater who is set in his ways. He knows what he likes and is not interested in trying new things. Andy is especially not going to deviate from his favorite food- ants! But he is faced with a dilemma when his friend, Sam Sloth, invites him for a sleepover. Will Andy open his mind to playing with new toys and trying new foods? A good lesson for children who will learn that having an open mind is the best way to enjoy life.
This is the tale of two best sloth friends who are as different as night and day. Peter is a homebody who is most comfortable and content lingering in the trees. Ernesto is an adventurer who has a strong desire to explore places far away. One day Ernesto heads out to satisfy his urge to learn about all the exciting places beyond the safety of home. During their separation, they miss each other more than they could have imagined and learn something important about themselves along the way. A humorously illustrated graphic novel about sloths and that will warm the hearts of readers.
Opposites attract in this story of an unlikely friendship between an impulsive fox and a slow-moving sloth. They two head out for a day of fun at the local swimming pool. Although their destination is the same, their paths are quite different. The fox races to the pool, knocking over everyone and everything in his way. The sloth, on the other hand, makes many pit stops to literally smell the roses and appreciate all the little things he passes on his way. A delightful children's book about a sloth and his best friend.
A group of children discovery a mysterious animal slumbering high up in a tree in their backyard. Determined to figure out its identity, they get busy searching for clues. For some reason, these super sleuths miss clues that are all over the news. A sloth has escaped from the local zoo! A fun sloth book for preschoolers who will hope that they, too, will find a surprise visitor in a tree one day.
This is a festival like no other. Instead of loud music and dancing fans, this is an event where all the biggest fans of sleep gather together and partake in their favorite pastime. Snuggleford Cuddlebun, the sleepiest of all sloths, enjoys this snoozy event by lounging in her hammock. She enjoys milk and honey refreshments and nods off to sweet lullabies. A perfect bedtime story for little ones who should take a hint from Snuggleford and go to sleep.
An endearing story about a busy family that learns a valuable lessons from a leisurely sloth. Amy and her parents have schedules that require them to maintain a frantic pace. Everything they do is at warp speed, from chores to work to eating. But when a sloth shows up one day, they get a glimpse at a what life is like when you slow down to enjoy it. Eventually, Amy and her parents learn to appreciate long dinners, strolls around the neighborhood, and quality time together.
There is a very special place in Costa Rica called the Avarios Sloth Sanctuary. Readers are taken on a photographic journey to this location where sloths of every age frolic and play. The pictures of the baby sloths are particularly adorable. Kids will also learn some interesting facts about sloths, and a little potty humor is tossed in to elicit some giggles.
An inspirational story about setting goals and going after them. A pair of sloths want to participate in The Great Rainforest Race, despite their lazy predisposition. Overcoming great odds, they manage to find both the energy and courage to run the race. This heartwarming story will have readers rooting for the slow sloths until they cross the finish line.
Know a kid who loves sloths? This coloring book is the perfect way to top off a sloth-themed gift. Nearly 100 pages of the cutest sloths in their natural environment. Pictures are printed on white, heavy paper stock to prevent easy ripping and color bleed-through. Don't forget to grab a pack of brand new Crayola crayons!
Highly original story about a special friendship. The expression "opposites attract" couldn't be more true than with this unlikely pairing of a speedy squirrel and a sluggish sloth. The two sign up for jobs working in a pickle factory so they can earn money for a new bike. Unfortunately, they are not a good match for factory work and wind up fired. Readers will enjoy their quit wit and creative problem-solving to buy that bike after all.
Sloth and Paloma are best friends. So when Paloma invites her furry friend for a sleepover, Sloth excitedly accepts. It's her first time spending the night at a friend's house and Sloth is feeling pretty confident. After all, she is the ultimate sleep expert. But much to her dismay, Paloma has other plans for the night, and they don't involve sleeping. How will Sloth possibly make it through a night full of activity with no time to rest? A funny story with illustrations that add humor to the situation.
Harris is determined to make a new friend, but not just any old friend. He has spotted a sloth lying around in a tree who looks like the perfect playmate. So he devises all kinds of fun plans that include an awesome party and yummy picnic. But nothing seems to pique the interest of this lazy animal who just wants to sleep. After a long and aggravating day, Harris is about to give up. Then he hears a rustling noise and wonders if he will finally meet his elusive buddy.
Looking for a gift for a sloth-loving friend? This colorful journal may be just the thing. The cover is adorned with sloths happily swinging from branches. There are almost 200 pages ready for someone to write, draw, and doodle. The diary has a lock and comes with two keys so that a child's personal thoughts can be kept private.
An adorable sloth peaks out behind a petite book filled with all kinds of facts and trivia. There is also space dedicated for children to write the name and other fun details about their own little sloth stuffed animal. A small novelty gift that is sure to delight kids who are fascinated with these lazy creatures.
A telling story about a little girl who wishes she had a sloth for a pet. Her reason? Life is busy and she dreams of slowing down with a friend by her side. She envisions taking long, lazy walks without a care in the world. And although sloths have moths in their hair, they are amazing at climbing trees and swinging from the branches. This perfectly rhyming story is fun to read out aloud.
An adorable, fictional book filled with all kinds of funny, interesting things about sloths. For instance, their favorite ice cream flavor is Cookies and Dream. Also, kids will learn that they can never get enough of their favorite pasttime- napping! Each of the 100+ pages has a picture of a cute sloth and a sentence or two about a fun fact (only some of which are true) about these beloved creatures.
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Fun Sloth Gifts for Kids
Here are some of the cutest sloth plush toys and gifts that pair perfectly with a children's book about sloths! We love the idea of giving a sloth-themed gift with all sorts of fun things around this furry friend.
Measuring about 12 inches from toe to toe, this realistic looking sloth plush is soft, flexible and well-constructed. This stuffed sloth is built to withstand hours of snuggle time and brings an authentic touch to a jungle-themed bedroom.
Meet your perfect nap time pal! This super soft sloth can be heated up in the microwave for a warm, comfy snuggle. A lavender scent also helps to calm, soothe, and settle little ones down for a long, deep sleep.
Looking for a fun baby shower gift? This Taggies sensory rattle is just the inspiration you need to pull your gift together. This all-in-one teether, rattle, plush and ribbon toy will keep baby stimulated for long car rides and in the stroller. Add some other sloth-themed gifts, like books, blankets, and plush animals for your favorite new baby.
An amazingly soft 50" x 60" light pink and grey blanket covered with adorable sloths. Grab some children's books about sloths and snuggle up under this cozy blanket for quality reading time with your little one.
Measuring about 30 inches tall, this large sloth plush stands out among regular stuffed animals. Little kids will love snuggling, napping, and hugging this big, furry animal.
This is one of the plumpest, fluffiest sloths around. This stuffed animal, measuring about 20 inches long, is ready to provide your child with lots of comfort and TLC! Grab some books about sloths and cuddle up with this soft plush toy for some sweet reading time.
This floppy-limbed plush sloth is soft and snuggly. With velcro on its hands and feet, this buddy can be easily hung from all kinds of interesting places around the house. And when it's time to read some children's books about sloths, this companion will be ready to cuddle up and listen.
Fun Facts About Sloths
Sure, they move slowly, but there is so much more to learn about the life of sloths. They are mysterious, misunderstood animals that have been studied extensively. Here are some fascinating tidbits that present sloths in a whole new light.
- Sloths are very photogenic since their mouths are permanently set in what appears to be a smile. The truth is that "happy" expression is not a reflection of their true state all the time. If sloths are experiencing stress, pain or anxiety, their expression never changes.
- Sloths are amazing swimmers and much quicker in the water than on land. In fact, they can move through water three times faster than they can run. Sloths' long claws interefere with walking and running, but they are advantageous when swimming. Even more interesting, sloths can hold their breath up to forty minutes. These animals have two additional neck verterbrae than every other mammal, which allows them to easily turn their heads while positioning their noses above the water.
- The sloth's digestive system is ridiculously slow, which probably is not too much of a surprise. They have a multi-component stomach that supports the breakdown of cellulose, a cellular component of their plant-based diet. Scientests have discovered it can take 30 days for sloths to digest a single leaf. The sloths' slow metabolic rate is why they are so sluggish. In the course of an entire day, sloths will not cover more than half a length of a football field.
- They spend the majority of their time in the trees so that they are safe from predators like jaguars and eagles. They come down occasionally to mate, find more food, or poop (which they do only once a week!)
- Millions of years ago, sloths were the size of elephants. They roamed the earth, albeit slowly, by foot and pulled down tree branches for food.
- Sloths do not have incisors. This makes it difficult for them to nibble leaves into small enough bits to chew up and swallow. The animals instead use their extremely firm lips to repeatedly smack the leaves so they eventually break down into little chunks.
- We have sloths to thank for avocados. Giant sloths, unlike the the smaller versions that swing from the trees, used to roam the earth much like dinosaurs. The enormous size of their digestive system allowed them to swallow avocodo seeds whole. They consumed avocados in large quantities and then spread the seeds, fully intact, wherever they roamed.
- The life expectancy of sloths is a big mystery. Scientists and wildlife experts have not been able to accurately determine the age of adult sloths. Also, these creatures have never been successfully tracked from birth until death in their natural habitat to assess their average lifespan. The oldest sloth living in captivity has reached 50 years of age, but these mammals likely live longer in a the wild.
- Sloths fall out of trees without suffering injuries. These funny creatures can easily fall 100 feet without a single bump, bruise, or broken bone. In fact, it is suggested that sloths fall on average about once a week. When two male sloths are fighting over a female for mating purposes, each tries to push the other from the tree. Fortunately, they rebound and quickly climb back up high into branches without suffering.
- Cold temperatures are very bad for sloths. In order to conserve energy, sloths have lost the ability to control fluctuations in their body temperature. As a result, they can experience swings of up to 10 degrees celsius in core body temperature every single day. If outside temperatures drop, microbes in the sloths' stomachs die and they can no longer digest leaves. So, in essence, sloths can die of starvation even when their bellies are full.
- Their pooping habits are quite unusual. Kids will find it interesting to know that sloths only relieve themselves about once a week, but when they do, it is quite the production. The output weighs about one third of their total body weight every time sloths do the deed. It's a good thing they don't drop these bombs from the trees or creatures below suffer some pretty stinky blows. Rather, sloths dig a hole at the base of a tree and poop into it.
- Sloths are stronger than you might think. Although they have significantly less muscle mass than other mammals, sloths are easily three times stronger than humans. Newborns can hoist themselves over a tree branch with just one arm. They have unique tendons in both their hands and feets that allow them to hang for hours, even when sleeping. This strength is also what protects them from predators. Not even jaguars are able to loosen a sloth's strong grip on a tree branch.
- You may be interested in the best places to observe sloths in their natural environment. If your family is up for an adventure, there are many places to watch sloths swing from the trees, although it's more likely you will find them sleeping! Here is a list of some good spots to visit in Costa Rica: La Fortuna, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Bijagua Ranas, and Rincon De La Vieja. You can also find these mammals in these spots of Peru: Tambopata National Reserve and Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve.
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