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Jeffrey and Sloth

by Kari-Lynn Winters
illustrated by Ben Hodson

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imagination & play, art & architecture, mammals
list price: $9.95
also available: Hardcover eBook
published: 2008
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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
6 to 8
p to k
Reading age:
3 to 5
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Association of Book Publishers of BC
Librarian review

Jeffrey and Sloth

A recently created doodle takes on a life of its own in this easy-to-read, large print picture book. Faced with the task of writing, young Jeffrey finds himself staring at a blank page. The longer he mulls over his task, the more he doodles… until he hears a voice. The Sloth, which he has just created, speaks to him. The more the Sloth talks to and bosses around Jeffrey, the more inspiration and empowerment Jeffrey acquires for his writing and his artistic expression.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2007-2008.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Jeffrey and Sloth

No matter how talented a creative writing teacher you are, sooner or later you have that student who proclaims, “I don't know what to write!” If it was a problem of not knowing what to read, a simple trek to the bookstore would provide a wealth of books to show how reading can be fun. But until now, there hasn't been a picture book that shows how writing can be fun.

In Kari-Lynn Winters’ first picture book, Jeffrey and Sloth, Jeffrey is faced with the dilemma of the dreaded blank page. Instead of writing, he doodles. And as his pen moves over the page, he draws a sloth who comes to life. The sloth is lazy, wants a chair and blanket, and tells Jeffrey to admit that he's just a bad writer.

Jeffrey catches on quick and sees that Sloth is just lazy, and so Jeffrey makes him tunnel through the Earth, swim an ocean, and lastly trek across Canada – all this in search of the perfect blanket. As Jeffrey writes, he sees that he can get his homework done.

The illustrations complement the words with bright colours and animated expressions. Ben Hodson is a good match for Winters’ lively prose, as he brings Jeffrey and Sloth from the page into our imaginations. Students will identify with Jeffrey, and be amused at the antics of Sloth. This is a must-have for any creative writing teacher who has students that don't see their potential.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Summer 2007. Vol.30 No.3.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Jeffrey and the Sloth

Jeffrey can’t think of what to write so he doodles instead. But then his doodle of a sloth comes alive and starts bossing him around. Bright, lively acrylic and coloured pencil artwork accompany this charming tale.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2008.

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  • Short-listed, Chocolate Lily nominee
  • Commended, OLA Best Bets
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books
  • Short-listed, BC Book Prize - Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize nominee
  • Short-listed, Blue Spruce nominee
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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.

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Jeffrey looked at the blank page. It glared back. His ideas came slowly, and he found himself sketching a round-bellied, long-armed sloth. "Focus on the words," Jeffrey muttered to himself. "Just forget about the words," whispered a voice. Jeffrey looked around, his eyes wide. "Who said that?"

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About the Authors

Kari-Lynn Winters

Kari-Lynn Winters teaches education at Brock University in Ontario. She has written many books for young children. For more information, visit www.kariwinters.com.
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Ben Hodson

Ben Hodson illustrates mostly for children in books, magazines and textbooks. He is the 2004 recipient of the Glass Slipper Award from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' Canadian Conference. He does presentations and workshops at local schools and libraries. Ben lives in Ottawa, Ontario, with his wife May and his daughter Zoe. For more information, visit www.benhodson.ca.

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