written by Jenny Offill

illustrated by Chris Appelhans

Ages: birth – 8 years (approximately grades preschool – 2nd)

Our young protagonist wants a pet. After nixing the first few ideas (“A bird or a bunny or a trained seal.”), her mother tells her she can have any pet she wants as long as it doesn’t need to be walked or bathed or fed. And so, after a quick trip to the library, our protagonist gets a pet that fits the bill delivered via express mail: a sloth. After dubbing her new pet sloth Sparky, our protagonist (and her persnickety friend, Mary Potts) find that Sparky isn’t so great at normal pet things. He can’t really fetch or play hide and sneak (or dance on his hind legs like Mary Potts’ cat can), and lives up to his slow-moving, under-achieving nature at the Trained Sloth Extravaganza our protagonist throws to show off Sparky’s talents. Despite his shortcomings, our protagonist loves Sparky and comes to appreciate him just as he is.

With a quirky premise and engaging watercolor illustrations to match, Sparky! is a book that will capture the hearts of those both with and without pets. Filled with humor and lessons to let others’ opinions deter your own, as well as to take things for what they’re worth, Sparky! is an enjoyable tale that will resonate with those who enjoy Jon Klassen’s illustrations (Extra Yarn and I Want My Hat Back) or other pet stories such as What Pet To Get? or How to Train a Train.

Find Sparky! in our catalog.

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