Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Koalas and Sloths

Jimmy the Joey: The True Story of an Amazing Koala Rescue
Authors: Deborah Lee Rose, Susan Kelly
Photographs: Susan Kelly
Publisher: National Geographic Kids (July 9, 2013)
Independent Reading Level: Grades 2nd to 5th

Description from GoodReads:
This warm and inspirational photographic picture book for ages 4 to 8 is a compelling and uplifting true story, with a sweet message about coping with loss that draws attention to an important and threatened wild animal.

Jimmy is an adorable baby koala whose tender tale is sure to strike at the heartstrings of every animal lover. Readers will marvel at Jimmy's new life at Koala Hospital, being raised by loving human caregivers and interacting with other koalas healing from injury. The book also introduces young readers to the need for conservational awareness: Through Jimmy's life story readers will come to understand the many obstacles koalas and other species face today.

A Little Book of Sloth
Author/Photographer: Lucy Cooke
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (March 5, 2013)
Independent Reading Level: Grades 2nd to 5th

Description from GoodReads:
Cozy up with adorable baby sloths in this irresistible photographic picture book. Hang around just like a sloth and get to know the delightful residents of the Avarios Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica, the world’s largest sloth orphanage. You’ll fall in love with bad-boy Mateo, ooh and ahh over baby Biscuit, and want to wrap your arms around champion cuddle buddy Ubu!

From British filmmaker and sloth expert Lucy Cooke comes a hilarious, heart-melting photographic picture book starring the laziest—and one of the cutest—animals on the planet.

My thoughts on these books:
Yes, I don't normally combined two books into one review; however, both of these books share some similarities and will appeal to the same audience.  As a result, I thought it would be fun to share them at the same time.  

First, how can you look at the covers of these two books and not fall in love with those faces? Seriously?!

Sure, I have seen dozens of pictures of koalas and probably even had a stuffed koala as a child.  It wasn't going to be a hard sell to convince me to pick up Jimmy the Joey.  Plus, I love every book I have ever read by National Geographic Kids.  The quality of the text and photographs make their books a must have for any classroom or school library.  

But, I honestly have to say that I didn't really have much of an awareness about sloths.  My understanding of sloths basically was that they were slow or slept a lot. And then I saw A Little Book of Sloth and I found myself falling for the baby sloth on the cover.  I know, I know, I am a sucker for cute baby animal pictures.

In Jimmy the Joey, Deborah Lee Rose and Susan Kelly pair up to tell the story of Jimmy, a baby koala who was orphaned as an infant.  The story follows his stay at a Koala Hospital, his development from baby to adult koala and his eventual return to the wild.  Jimmy's story was considered a success story by the staff.  Readers get a clear sense of what it means to rescue and care for a baby koala bear and how staff work to reintegrate koalas into their natural habitats.  However, children also learn that not all koalas are as successful as Jimmy.  

Lucy Cooke shares with readers about not just one but several different kinds of sloths who reside at a sloth orphanage in Costa Rica.  Through a similar process as in Jimmy the Joey, young readers in A Little Book of Sloth learn about how workers take care of the baby sloths and what is needed to help them develop into adult sloths. I was surprised about how you need to bathe and care for the fur of a sloth and also how strong they must be in order to hang onto someone or something.   Since readers may be less familiar with sloths, their story does attempt to dispel some myths and also talk about how the sloth's digestive system functions perfectly to fit their very slow lifestyle.

If you are looking for books to expand an animal collection in your library or to share with readers who love animals and want to learn more about them, I would highly recommend adding both of these to your collection. 

Update:  Thanks to Crystal for the link to this really cute video of baby sloths getting a bath.

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