Sparky! (Hardcover)

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Sparky! By Jenny Offill, Chris Appelhans (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Jenny Offill, Chris Appelhans (Illustrator)
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(Children's Picture Book Hardcover)

Staff Reviews

Who wouldn’t want a pet sloth? Well, I guess you wouldn’t if you want your pet to fetch, run, roll over or do anything active at all. But if you want a pet who plays dead and statue very well, then Sparky is just your kind of critter. A clever and giggly choice for the more mature picture book audience.

— From 2014's great picture books to read aloud

What pet needs no bath, no walks, and very little feeding? A sloth of course! Sparky the sloth is not very good at games or performances, or other pet things. He can’t really compete with Mary’s dog, but he is special in his own, slow way.

This is a punchy, funny, and beautifully illustrated book. It’s a fun one to read with your kids or to them.


— From Neat November Staff Picks


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

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.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780375870231
ISBN-10: 0375870237
Publisher: Anne Schwartz Books
Publication Date: March 11th, 2014
Pages: 40
Language: English