I recently discovered a delightful picture book titled ‘The Sloth Who Came to Stay’. Written by award winning Australian picture book author Margaret Wild and illustrated by Vivienne To, the book was published in 2017. It claims to be ‘a timely tale about enjoying the little things in life’ and the overall message is that we all need to slow down.
The story is about a young girl Amy and her family, who are always busy and seem to do everything very fast. This all changes the day Amy brings a sloth home to stay. And because the sloth does everything so slowly, the family are forced to slow down too, gradually beginning to appreciate the benefits that come when life becomes less busy.
There are so many reasons why I adore this book. The tale is humorous and heartwarming. The illustrations are wonderful, vibrant and full of quirky little details. The text and illustrations beautifully reinforce the message that in order to enjoy the little things in life we need to slow down and pay attention. What I love most though is that the theme of slowing down and becoming less busy has made its way in to the pages of a children’s book. Amy herself seems to love the sloth’s slower ways and gradually her parents come around too, resulting in a much happier family.
The message to slow down may be aimed at the parents but perhaps it is through children that we might actually begin to hear it. After all, even slowness guru Carl Honore’s light-bulb moment was connected to reading bedtime stories. And more often than not it is children who know before us that life has become too crazy. Working in schools I see increasing numbers of children who are tired, anxious and frazzled and this impacts on their learning and overall wellbeing. I think as a society we are beginning to see the down side of having it all, or at least trying to have it all. Slowly but surely the message is spreading, that the only way to really find contentment and joy is in those little things that are so easy to miss when we rush through life.
My daughter (who also loves this book) was given a gift for her birthday, a journal with a sloth on the front cover and the words ‘follow your dreams’. I think if we want to live a life in which we have both the time to dream and the time to follow our dreams, we need to be like the sloth and take things slowly.
I would highly recommend ‘The Sloth Who Came to Stay‘ for all children and adults, especially those who don’t have time for picture books.