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Sparky! by Jenny Offill, Chris Appelhans

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.

Winner of the Charlotte Zolotow Award

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375870231
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 03/11/2014
Pages: 40
Sales rank: 206,036
Product dimensions: 9.60(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile: AD520L (what's this?)
Age Range: 4 - 8 Years

About 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.” Learn more at

Chris Appelhans was selected as the Children’s Choice Illustrator of the Year at the Children’s Choice Book Awards for Sparky!, his first picture book. The book received two starred reviews, including one from Booklist declaring, “Appelhans is a revelation.” Chris has also worked on several films, as an illustrator and a production designer for Coraline, an environment designer for Fantastic Mr. Fox, and a visual development artist for The Princess and the Frog.

Customer Reviews

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Sparky! 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Mouse15 More than 1 year ago
Sparky is a adorable picture book and the illustrations are so sweet I think this Book is a "WINNER"
Storywraps More than 1 year ago
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.