Regional focus: Amazon
Author: Eric Carle
Illustrator: Eric Carle
Genre: children’s literature
My earliest book memory is of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. As a child, I’d joyfully turn the pages of the book, enchanted with the geometric bright collages that are often associated with Eric Carle. While his stories may seem simple at first glance, Carle writes with the grace of a skilled author of children’s books, carefully weaving purpose and meaning into his story, while using a limited amount of words. I’ve grown up, but I continue to have a soft spot in my heart for Eric Carle books. Slowly, Slowly, Slowly resonates to my grown-up self; I am an adult with an internally slow soul, who lives in a fast world.
In Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,” said the Sloth, we journey to South America and follow a wonderfully slow sloth in his day-to-day tranquility. He eats slowly. He walks slowly. He climbs slowly. He sleeps abundantly. We meet other forest friends like the anteater, the caiman, and the monkey who are curious about the sloth’s behavior. They ask, “Why are you so lazy?” and “Why are you so boring?” The sloth listens, but does not react or reply quickly. Instead, he thinks, he sits, and collects his ideas. Only after gentle meditation does he reply with his words of wisdom on slow living.
What I love:
- The message of Slowly, Slowly, Slowly is applicable to both the lives of children and adults in today’s world. Many of us could benefit from slowing down.
- Eric Carle’s illustrations are like walking into an Amazonian kaleidoscope.
- Jane Goodall writes a heart-felt forward about the importance of protecting the Amazon rainforest and the animals who depend on it for their existence.
- Young readers will learn about the creatures who call the Amazon “home.”
Themes: mindfulness, the Amazon, slow living, acceptance
- Do you prefer to walk, eat, make a meal, etc., slowly or quickly? Why?
- Would you like to visit the Amazon? Why or why not?
- After reading the story, what words would you use to describe the sloth?
- Investigate the life of a sloth and make a small display of interesting facts about it. For example, did you know that sloths only lower to the ground once a week to go to the bathroom?
- Create a list of activities that you like to complete slowly.
- Make a collage of the Amazon with recycled paper in the style of Eric Carle.