By Elizabeth Shreeve; Illustrated by Isabella Grott
Norton Young Readers. 2023
Science writer, Shreeve, explores the origins and diversity of life on Planet Earth in her latest book on Sloths.
Sloths are fascinating creatures. They are small, lightweight and only inhabit the trees of Central and South America. Being small and lightweight, (the largest sloth is about 32 inches long and weights a maximum of 24 pounds), "enables them to climb, feed, and hang among the upper branches of tropical forests."
Shreeve does an excellent job comparing our modern tree sloths to their ancient ancestors by highlighting their unique characteristics:
- Tree Huggers
- Shy Loners
- tough herds
- Ocean Foragers
The easy to understand explanations are paired with more detailed specifics of the different species. Small fact blocks give the range, maximum size, and environmental status. For example, under the heading "Explorers", we learn that "ground sloths once travelled all over the Americas!" It was during a period of warmer weather that a sloth traveled as far north as Alaska! In a text block we learn about Eremotherium, the tallest of all prehistoric ground sloths. Its maximum size was 20 feet tall; 7,000 pounds. More facts explain the Eremotherium lived 4.9million years ago to 11,000 years ago.
Complementing the text are Grott's illustrations.
Included is a timeline of sloth history and books and websites to learn more a out these shy loners.
Check out another book by Shreeve, Out of the Blue: How Animals Evolved from Prehistoric Seas
Click here to watch Elizabeth Shreeve give a brief talk about this book.