When Sloth Is a Really, Really Good Thing

Elizabeth Bluemle -- April 10th, 2013

Commerce at the Flying Pig Bookstore screeched to a halt the other day when a picture book, newly unpacked, proved to be so charming, so chock full of loveable goodness, that staff couldn’t get any work done until each last picture had been perused. The customers, drawn by our exclamations, hastened over to be part of the experience and were immediately sucked in to the lure of this book. I hate to say it, but there may even have been some squeeing.

The traffic-stopping book was A Little Book of Sloth, by British photographer and Animal Planet baby-sloth filmmaker Lucy Cooke. Chock full of photographs of baby sloths (both two- and three-toed varieties) who live at “Slothville,” a sanctuary in Costa Rica, this book is both an introduction to the habits of these funny, expressive, mellow little animals and a tribute to the sanctuary and its founder, Judy Arroyo. (Slothville’s real name is the Aviarios del Caribe sloth sanctuary.)

While there is quite a bit of information in the book, its tone — in keeping with its subject matter — is relaxed, unrushed, lighthearted. Cooke strikes the perfect tone here, managing to be friendly, funny, and laid-back without slipping into irritating slanginess. And her photos! Even the greediest sloth lover’s thirst will be slaked by the dozens of bright, colorful, clear close-ups of the fuzzy little critters, each of whose face is appealingly distinctive and surprisingly human. There’s a lot of hugging in here: baby sloths cuddled up together, or slinging a long arm around a soft toy. Basically, there is just no way to look through this book and not feel happy. It’s impossible. So thank you, Simon & Schuster, thank you, Lucy Cooke, thank you, Judy Arroyo, and thank you, baby sloths. You made our day.

And that’s worth slowing down business on a Monday morning, isn’t it?

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