BN.com Gift Guide

Sparky!

( 2 )

Overview

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 through the mail, the creature that arrives isn't good at tricks or hide-and-seek . . . or much of anything. Still, there's something about ...
See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (14) from $11.09   
  • New (10) from $11.09   
  • Used (4) from $11.09   

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK Kids for iPad

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (NOOK Kids Read to Me)
$11.99
BN.com price

Overview

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 through the mail, the creature that arrives isn't good at tricks or hide-and-seek . . . or much of anything. Still, there's something about Sparky that is irresistible. 
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Sarah Harrison Smith
Perhaps not everyone will see the humor in naming a sloth Sparky, but this distinctively illustrated story will amuse those who do.
Publishers Weekly
12/16/2013
Depending on one’s feelings about exotic pets, Offill’s (17 Things I’m Not Allowed to Do Anymore) sloth story is either hilariously hip or burdened with pathos. At the outset, a mother tells her daughter, “You can have any pet you want as long as it doesn’t need to be walked or bathed or fed.” Within these parameters, the girl acquires a sloth, dubbed Sparky. She tries to coax her low-maintenance pet to do tricks, but complains, “Sometimes he took so long to fetch that I went inside and had dinner while I waited.” Appelhans, an animation illustrator, debuts with watercolors in driftwood brown, teal, and red; readers will detect Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen’s influence in the palette and in Sparky’s repetitive poses, dangling his arms from a branch or slouching upright. Offill and Appelhans’s glum story recalls the absurdism of J. Otto Seibold’s recent Lost Sloth. By book’s end, both girl and sloth are just about as lonely and miserable as ever, but at least they’re lonely together. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Sally Wofford-Girand, Union Literary. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Our young narrator wants a pet, but her mother will only allow her to have one that does not need to be walked, bathed, or fed. The only possibility she can figure out from her library research is a sloth. So she gets one, and names him ironically Sparky. She puts him in a tree, where he finally wakes up after two days. Of course, she wins all the games she plays with him. When “Miss Perfect” Mary Potts comes over “to investigate,” she sneers at Sparky. So our insulted heroine posts a sign promising a “Trained Sloth Extravaganza.” All week she tries hard to train Sparky to do something. On the promised day, the conclusion is bittersweet. Applehans uses transparent watercolors and pencil illustrations to depict the low-key tale in a low-key setting, with a tree of only a few skinny branches on sketchy grounds and hand-lettered text. The almost non-eventful sequence keeps our interest thanks to humor and the heroine’s charm. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz; Ages 4 to 8.
School Library Journal
03/01/2014
PreS-Gr 1—A persistent girl asks for a pet until her mother finally relents with a caveat: "You can have any pet you want as long as it doesn't need to be walked or bathed or fed." The school librarian leads the girl to the S volume of the animal encyclopedia, where she discovers the sloth, a creature that barely moves. When her sloth arrives, she names him Sparky, a moniker that suggests energy (unlike her new pet). The girl attempts to impose many un-sloth-like qualities on the quiet creature, playing several games with him that he is bound to lose (except for "Statue") and planning an elaborate Trained Sloth Extravaganza that is hardly eventful. While there are several attempts at humor in the text, ultimately this book is a little sad. The girl only reluctantly accepts that her pet sloth basically does nothing, and rather than embracing this quality, she finishes the book by starting a game of tag with her pet. Well-rendered watercolor and pencil illustrations in subdued hues of brown, green, and red depict a slight, spritely girl and an inexpressive sloth, and therein lies another problem with this book. Sloths are cute and huggable, but this one merely looks lost until the last page when he finally smiles a bit. For children interested in sloths, Lucy Cooke's A Little Book of Sloth (S & S, 2013) is a much better choice, and it includes a reminder that "sloths belong in the wild and should never be kept as pets." Additional.—Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-01-04
Quietly dry humor marks this story about a most unusual pet. An unassuming girl looks straight out at readers and explains her desire for a pet. She's not fussy, but she can't make it happen: "My mother said no to the bird. / No to the bunny. / No, no, no to the trained seal." Finally her mother consents—sort of: She agrees to any pet "as long as it doesn't need to be walked or bathed or fed." After some library research, "[m]y sloth arrived by Express Mail." Here it gets really funny. The girl waits two days, standing in moonlight and rain next to Sparky's backyard tree, before he even awakens. She teaches him games: "We played King of the Mountain / and I won. // We played Hide-and-Seek / and I won." Sparky never moves a muscle. Sitting on the grass, he's stock-still; on his tree branch, he lies motionless (atop the branch, inexplicably but adorably, not hanging down in sloth fashion). Even his expression's comically immobile. Training sessions and a performance proceed—um—at Sparky's pace, but a beautiful closing illustration of girl and sloth together on his branch shows how close they've grown. Appelhans uses blue and pinky-brown watercolors and pencil on creamy background to create understated humor and affection with a light touch. A serene, funny addition to the new-pet genre. (Picture book. 3-6)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375970238
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 3/11/2014
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 732,894
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Jenny Offill is the author of 17 Things I’m Not Allowed to Do Anymore, a Parenting Magazine Best Book of the Year and a Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the Year, and 11 Experiments That Failed, also a Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the Year, which Kirkus Reviews, in a starred review, called “the most joyful and clever whimsy.”

CHRIS APPELHANS has worked on several films. He was an illustrator and production designer for Coraline, an environment designer Fantastic Mr. Fox, and a visual development artist for The Princess and the Frog. This is his first picture book. 

From the Hardcover edition.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 5, 2014

    Awesome Picture Book

    Sparky is a adorable picture book and the illustrations are so sweet I think this Book is a "WINNER"

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 29, 2014

    This incredible little book begins by the statement, "I wan

    This incredible little book begins by the statement, "I want a pet."  The girl's mother's response?  "You can have any pet you want as long as it doesn't need to be walked or bathed or fed."  Wow! That is a serious request!  Where does one go to research such a demand?  The school librarian is just the person to get it done.  She goes through her library shelves and stops at the letter "S".... for "Sloth."  Together they discover that the sloth hardly moves, is very quiet and poses little trouble with upkeep to its owner.  Just the perfect pet for sure.  The little girl goes off to mail-order her new animal companion. 




    When he arrives she names him Sparky.  Yes, Sparky, because hopefully that name will invigorate him and put some pep into his life.  He really doesn't seem to have much energy or seem to even care about getting the thrills and adventures out of the life around him.  Her neighbour Mary Potts fuels the fire by announcing that her cat can dance and her parrot knows twenty words.  Oh my!  What is a sloth owner to do?  She tries to play different games with him .... but he is not enthusiastic about participating and then she has a brilliant idea....she will put on a show, promising "countless tricks" from Sparky.  Na....that was to no avail too.




    The illustrations are created with watercolour and pencil.  They are soft, muted and and the colour palette of brown, green and burgandy/red fits the text perfectly.  They capture the emotions flawlessly and feature the the artist's hand lettering which I really liked.  




    What the girl discovers is a sloth is ....well....a sloth.  He loves to hang out in trees and be quiet and is very slow and loveable. The valuable lesson learned from her adorable sedentary pet?  He is perfect just the way he is.  He's a keeper for sure.  No returns. And HIS keeper she will be for a long, long time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)