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really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  3,699 ratings  ·  615 reviews
The ingenious author of 17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore and a brilliant illustrator and production designer of the Coraline movie have created a hilarious, touching picture book perfect for young animal lovers. Like the Caldecott Medal-winning Officer Buckle and Gloria, Sparky stars a pet who has more to offer than meets the eye. When our narrator orders a sloth th ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 11th 2014 by Schwartz & Wade (first published February 28th 2014)
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really liked it 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,699 ratings  ·  615 reviews

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Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing

this is an adorable book about a little girl who wants a pet. her mother tells her You can have any pet you want as long as it doesn't need to be walked or bathed or fed.

so she gets… a sloth! in the mail!

and while sparky the sloth is very adorable and huggable with his "flat nose and monkey face"

he's not the most … playful pet.

nor the most obedient

which is a problem because she has already boasted to the bratty and scoffing mary potts that sparky's a GREAT pet, and she's going
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016, picture
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What a cute story! Sloths are the cutest things ever!
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Rating, 4.5

All kinds of sweet. Just what I needed .


A young girl (our narrator) begs her mom to let her have a pet. Maybe ... a bird or a bunny or a trained seal? Anything. Mom doesn't deem her responsible enough and says no to the bird, no to the bunny and of course "No, no, no to the trained seal." ... but the girl persist ... and finally gets the "green light" to get a pet on the condition that "it doesn’t need to be walked or bathed or fed". Piece of cake! The girl does some research at the
Jun 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books, 2014
The unnamed narrator really wants a pet, "a bird or a bunny or a trained seal." Unfortunately, her mother says no to all those options, and after a lot of nagging, agrees to a pet who doesn't need to be walked or bathed or fed.

When our narrator goes to the LIBRARY, she finds this:

 photo 2014-06-13_14-53-04_781.jpg

Et voilà! Her sloth arrives by Express Mail.

 photo 2014-06-13_14-53-15_804.jpg

She names the sloth Sparky (of course) and as you can imagine, much excitement ensues. Here is just a small taste of the adventures she has with her sloth:

 photo 2014-06-13_14-53-58_730.jpg

But then, ov
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cute story about a young girl who wants a pet, and ends up adopting a sloth. Fun times ensue as she attempts to teach the sloth tricks.
The whole book (story, illustrations) is sweet, and put a smile on my face.
Mar 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Glitter on a sloth = shit just got real.

Buy this title from Powell's Books.
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-or-ya, pets
A darling picture book about a little girl who is desperate for a pet. “I asked [my mother] every day for a month, until she finally said, ‘You can have any pet you want as long as it doesn’t need to be walked or bathed or fed.’ … My sloth arrived by Express Mail. He was about the size of a mediumish dog, with a flat nose and a monkey face. My mother wasn’t happy, but a promise is a promise.” Sparky may not do very much, and certainly not very quickly, but he’s a good pet in his own way. I proba ...more
Isa Lavinia
Sep 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing


A little girl keeps begging her mother for a pet. Her mother's pet requirements are simple: it mustn't need to be walked, or bathed, or fed.

The library holds the answer:

Soon the little girl gets her new pet sloth, Sparky, in the mail.

Admittedly, Sparky isn't the most active of pets...

But in the end Sparky turns out to be the best pet!

Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
You're it, Sparky!

It is great to recognize your abilities and to respect them and to ‹spark› them. Sloth is not a notable pet, but the real desire of the little girl owning a pet have made it Sparky lovely sloth!

Picturing is so creative and well detailed.
Aly (In Wonderland)
Nov 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Literally the best kid's book ever. EVER.
Mar 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
The sloth is not a noble animal. Few people spend time contemplating their heroic qualities and distinguished countenances. Had I an Oxford English Dictionary on hand I’d be mighty interested to learn whether or not the term “sloth” as in “a habitual disinclination to exertion” was inspired by the tropical, slow-moving animal or if it was the other way around. Perhaps it is because of this that we don’t see them starring in too many picture books for kids. Sure you’ll get the occasional Lost Slo ...more
Carrie Gelson
Mar 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Love. Love the sloth. Love the slow. Love the inevitable. A sloth is true to its nature. It is nothing but a sloth. This book is so absolutely charming. And wonderfully slow - yes, like a sloth. There are giggle worthy images - like the sloth in a box having just arrived by Express Mail. Or when we see that Sparky (the sloth) can win at a game - if it is Statue where you need to stand very still. It is about our desires and vulnerabilities. Why else post a sign about a Trained Sloth Extravaganza ...more
Maggie Stiefvater
Aug 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My dark-hearted children loved this one's understated humor and expressionless sloth.
Spencer Orey
This was an odd one: a picture book with somewhat YA sensibilities and an odd undercurrent of moralizing (lazy sloths!) that focuses on a rivalry between two girls instead of on how cool sloths are. Granted, a sloth would make a terrible pet, but surely there's a lot of love to give the snuggly sleepy things. I liked the drawings a lot though!
Nov 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books

I thought this book was going somewhere, but then it just kind of ended. It was cute, but I'm a little confused by the lack of a story arc.
Mar 30, 2017 rated it liked it
A girl wants a pet-sloth. Life moves a lot slower for this young lady and her unusual new friend.
Sep 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Our narrator, a young girl, has been trying to get a pet for a long time. Mom always says no. But when Mom makes the mistake of promising that if she can find a pet that doesn't have to be fed or walked or bathed, a sloth is ordered on the sly.

Sparky isn't good at hide-and-seek or any of the other games they "play" together (well, except "statues"; he's outstanding at "statues"). He doesn't do anything but 1]sleep, and 2]never move. Kind of reminds me of Elizabeth Cody Kimmel's My Penguin Osber
Sep 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kristin by: Isa Lavinia
Our narrator of this adorable tale wants a pet more than anything in the world, and the only pet that meets her mother's qualifications is the sloth. After she has Sparky mailed to her, she just wants people to love him as much as she does. Thus she makes several failed attempts at teaching Sparky tricks where he makes the same face I always made in gym class:


Eventually our narrator realizes that it doesn't matter if people find Sparky impressive, because she loves him and that's all that matt
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
ATTENTION SLOTH ENTHUSIASTS! Sparky! is a story delightfully told. The words alone make it a treasure, but the illustrations make it an adorable masterpiece. I absolutely love this funny, quiet, and sweet picture book.
Callie Cat
Aug 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very cute story. Basically all the reasons why sloths don't make very good pets, or maybe the most perfect pet ever.
Jun 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Aaaaand my heart has melted.
Many of my kiddos identify with sloths as their spirit animals. 🤣. Totally cute book!
Caleb Wikman
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: edtp-245
I really love the artwork with this book, its what entertains me as a reader. I love how the little girl is just blessed to have a sloth as her pet.
Linda Gill
Apr 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Sparky is written in the first person, thus I do not have a name for the little girl, but she wants a pet. Her mother is not fond of the idea at all, but listens to her daughter giving various options for what this pet could be. Mom turns her down again and again, but, finally, gives in, only to list some serious stipulations: "You can have any pet you want as long as it doesn't need to be walked or bathed or fed." (Right!, I say out loud while reading this delightful book in the bookstore!) The ...more
Eden Grey
Apr 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile
"Sparky is a sloth. A pet sloth. And sloths don't know how to fetch. Or roll over. But they sure know how to play dead. What's an eager pet owner to do?"

An endearing girl wants a pet. So she asks the school librarian (who knows everything) for help doing research, and then orders a sloth by Express Mail. She named him Sparky, and he didn't wake up for 2 whole days. Sparky sleeps, and blinks owlishly, and watches his owner, and that's about it! The girl must come to accept that Sparky isn't going
I'm surprised that all of the animal cruelty (con, not pro!) haven't come out in droves against this book. After all, this is from the author who wrote one of my personal favorites, 17 Things I'm Not Allowed To Do Anymore, which seriously scandalized many parents (psst: get over yourselves!). In this book, a girl orders a pet sloth in the mail. I can just see people clutching their pearls and talking about the unsuitability of sloths for pets and how we should just leave them alone and WHAT ABOU ...more
This is the kind of pet I could handle. I barely have to take care of it; it wouldn't need to rely on me, which would be great since my schedule is so crazy and I'm rarely home. And I have seen a sloth up close. It was adorable. Then after the cute sloth book I read a few months ago.... I believe I'm a bit of a sloth fan. So this book just got to me. And the illustrations were so cute. Loved the little asides. It might go over my ST kids' heads, but I think I still want to try it.

2/11/15 I tried
Nov 14, 2014 rated it did not like it
What am I missing here? Don't get me wrong--I absolutely love the illustrations, but when I read the last sentence I could only shake my head and think, "So, was she happy? Sad? What?" I just didn't get this book.


Yes, she got her wish to get a pet. Good. Yes, her parent kept her word and was supportive throughout the ENTIRE book. Bloody amazing in this day and age! Yes, her pet was unusual. Okey-dokey. All-righty, she stood up for herself and her pet and did so with creativity.

BUT . . . in
May 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
I read this to my children, then asked them their thoughts on the book. They had the same thoughts as me, super glad we didn't purchase it (library read).
Although the illustrations are cute, the entire book was a fail lesson for children.
First, the mother she was such a sad character. She was mean, telling her daughter she could have any pet she wanted as long as it didn't need to be walked, feed, or bathed. Really? than that would be a no.
Then the girl buys a sloth in a box. During her time
May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was one of those 2015 Caldecott contenders I had had no interest in picking up for the longest time, because 1) How could reading about a sloth be all that exciting, 2) Why would I want to read a book with the title "Sparky!", 3) I honestly found the cover illustration both bland and dull. Well, I read it and now I like it. The story is actually interesting in a quiet sort of way, and although the idea of getting an unusual pet is not all that original per se, I thought the storyline manage ...more
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Jenny Offill is an American author born in Massachusetts. Her first novel Last Things was published in 1999 was a New York Times Notable book and a finalist for the L.A Times First Book Award.

She is also the co-editor with Elissa Schappell of two anthologies of essays and the author of several children's books She teaches in the MFA programs at Brooklyn College, Columbia University and Queens Univ
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