Peter & Ernesto: Sloths in the Night by Graham Annable, 124 pp, RL 3
Peter & Ernesto: Sloths in the Night
Review Copy from FirstSecond
In my review of Peter & Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths, I noted that opposites make for great characters, especially in books for younger readers. While Peter's caution and concern is marvelously countered by Ernesto's buoyant embrace of experience and adventure, what I love most about these characters is their care for each other and the thoughtful language they use to express it. And, of course, the crazy escapades the two get caught up in, together and alone, are a delight.
In Sloths in the Night, Ernesto is excited to learn that a dragon is living in the old temple by the river in their forest and he wants to head over to meet him. But, his news is overshadowed when Peter and the rest of the sloths realize that their friend Bernard is missing - and it's almost night time! Sure that Bernard heard about the dragon and headed to the temple on his own, Ernesto convinces Peter and their friends to to search for him there, despite the setting sun. Along the way, they meet a bat, are chased into the Dark Glades by an owl and guided out by a gang of glowing polka-dot tree frogs (a real thing! the first naturally fluorescent frog species!). They slide down hills on bark sleds and discover a zip line. Peter worries and shares his concerns, but when every other sloth makes it across safely, he takes his turn and the rope breaks. Fortunately, he is not hurt and Ernesto apologizes immediately, saying he should have listened to Peter. Peter replies, "Sometimes I'm right and sometimes I'm wrong! It's okay! We're still friends no matter who's right!" I absolutely love this authentic (non-didactic) moment between friends and all the good things that it models for readers.
At the temple, Ernesto and the gang are in for a surprise - the dragon is not a he but a she named Frances. A seafaring, exploring Komodo dragon, homesick Camila wrecked her boat trying to get back to her island. At the same time, Peter meets Frances, a river otter hoping to become an ocean otter after repairing the boat she found. All paths converge and new adventures begin (for Camila and Frances) but where is Bernard? There is a happy ending for everyone, Komodos, otters, bats and sloths alike!
While I somehow, sadly, missed reading Peter & Ernesto: The Lost Sloths, where the friends search for a new home after a hurricane tumbles their tree, I will definitely be adding it to the shelves of my library!
More Peter & Ernesto!