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Fiction Picture Book
Pages: 32
Themes: "Writing, sloths, imagination"
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 01/Mar/2007
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Jeffrey can't think of a thing to write, so he doodles instead, only to have his doodle begin to order him about. Jeffrey struggles with the situation until he discovers that the most strong-willed doodle is powerless against a well-told tale. Jeffrey and Sloth is bound to have children rushing for their colored pencils and their pens to see who and what they can create.

Kari-Lynn Winters loves shopping at garage sales and collecting other people's discarded photographs. She came to write Jeffrey and Sloth when a teacher said to her, "If you can't find anything to write about, then write about the moment of not having anything to write about." "And that," she says, "is what I did." Kari-Lynn is an educator, performer and writer who lives with her family in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Ben Hodson has hiked through the Rocky Mountains with wild burros, fed a pair of baby tigers from a bottle and seen monkeys in South Africa come into his house and steal bananas off his table. A self-taught artist, Ben says that he often uses doodling to begin challenging projects. "Staring at a blank piece of paper and knowing that you have to be creative," he says, "is one of the hardest things I know." Ben lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

As a teacher, parent, and writer, I'm always on the hunt for an indispensable resource. It's what I pack if my day is going to contain anything unpredictable: a new teaching situation, the hook to launching a unit, an unexpected wait in the doctor's office. Jeffrey and Sloth is that rare kind of book that works for kids of all ages.

Jeffrey and Sloth is a literacy teacher's tool for inspiring children with a month's worth of ideas for their creative writing. Primary teachers will want this book as a fun hook for studying Canada. It's a substitute teacher's solution to a blank or boring dayplan: scrap the busy work and create a Social Responsibility mini-unit around themes of power and powerlessness. An art teacher could create weeks of exciting lessons exploring the book's illustrations: patterns, colors, cartoon animation, and teaching students to illustrate their own stories. And I'm just getting started. Imagine what an educator could come up with if she, like Jeffrey, started brainstorming or doodling on a scrap piece of paper.

Jeffrey and Sloth is a multi-age enjoyable read. My preschooler loves the situational comedy. My grade sevens enjoy Winters' fresh approach to writer's block. This is a book children and adults - formally or informally - will enjoy for years.
PJ Sarah Collins

"I think kids will enjoy this book because it's funny and it teaches them about sloths, Canada, geography." (Amit, grade 3)

"I think the book would appeal to all age groups because it is so funny and full of imagination. It really inspires people to write more. It should be for kids aged 5 - 11 because there are some powerful words that older kids might find useful for writing projects." (George, grade 5)

"This was a good book about thinking outside the box. The book teaches not to take people for granted." (Gail, grade 5)

"I am 10 and I thought it was the best picture book I have read so far. I really liked how the sloth was so mean and bossy until Jeffrey found his weakness and used it against him. I think that kids from preschool to grade 7 or 8 will absolutely love this book!" (Daya, grade 5)

Other comments:

What my primary students think about Jeffrey and Sloth:

"I think it's a good book for kids to learn stuff like writing stories and encouraging kids to use their imagination." (Stella, grade 3)

"I like it when the sloth dug to India." (Paulo, grade 2)

"It was funny. My favorite part was when the sloth went across Canada." (Stu, grade 3)

"I think it's great for kids over five." (Helen, grade 3)

"It was funny when the sloth was trying to find the blanket." (Emma, grade 2)

"I like it when the sloth came alive." (Braeden, grade 2)

"I think it was an interesting and wonderful story." (Ally, grade 3)

"I like the pictures. They explain what happened to the sloth." (Amy, grade 2)

What my intermediate students think about Jeffrey and Sloth:

"I would rate this 5/5 for kids ages 4 - 10. I loved the moral to the story. Do not be a sloth. Being lazy will not help anyone or help yourself." (Gary, grade 5)

"This is a creative story about doing your homework and being imaginative. The way Kari-Lynn writes the story is very fun for children about 6 or 7 years old." (Diana, gr.5)

"This book was so hilarious! It shows kids that even though you think you are not good at something, you are actually great if you really try." (Kyleah, grade 5)

"I think the book teaches us not to be lazy when it comes to homework." (Elaine, gr. 5)

"It gives people ideas if they don't know what to write about." (Jacky, grade 5)

"A wonderful book about a boy and a sloth." (Anthony, grade 5)

"It's a very well written book about a lazy sloth who traveled many countries to find his cozy blanket." (Amanda, grade 5)

"I think this book would be great for grades 1 and 2. They might learn about making fabulous stories while creating pictures in their minds." (Alex, grade 7)

"This book is for grade 2's. It would tell them that drawing can give you writing ideas." (Kevin, grade 7).

"There's a lesson to learn and an idea you can do when you're stuck in writing. Awesome pictures. (Melissa, grade 7)

"I really liked the book. The pictures had so much detail; it was fun to look at. I think this book could be for grades 4 - 6." (Linda, grade 6)

"This book teaches little kids to be creative and not lazy. It teaches kids to have power over things that are bothering them." (Kate, grade 7)

What my intermediate students thought about power and powerlessness in Jeffrey and Sloth:

"Too much power is slavery." (Jan, grade 7)

"This book should be recommended for grade 2's. It would teach them how to respond back when someone tries to control them." (Wilson, grade 7)

"If I had no power, I'll feel awful because I have no choices. My decisions are controlled and I'll have no choice but to do as I was told. I'll feel like I'm just a doll and nothing more. If I had all the power, I'll feel great and maybe become mean. I'll have all my choices back and I can do whatever I want. I could command things / people to do my homework." (Vivian, grade 7)

"I think to have power is to be fully confident. It feels good to have power. But you have to use the power responsibly. You use it to help people, not order them around. If you had no power you'd feel miserable. People ordering you to do stuff. I have power over my little brother. He does everything I tell him to do. I have no power when my parents are talking to me." (Angela, grade 7)

Ebooks available from the following retailers:

Library Media Connection - October 1, 2007
"A good choice to include in a school library collection."
CM Magazine - May 25, 2007
"Will make readers laugh out loud...Bravo to both of its creators. Recommended."
Cheryl Rainfield's Children's Book Reviews - May 7, 2007
"Creative and fun."
Resource Links - April 1, 2007
"A unique Canadian picturebook...Would make a good addition to primary school collections."


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