Cindy: If it weren’t for the subject of this book, I would feel the need to apologize for being so slow to post about April Pulley Sayre’s The Slowest Book Ever (2016). My Goodreads account tells me that I started reading this a full month ago and I should have finished it much more quickly, but I was enjoying sauntering through its slow facts. The opening page will have your readers laughing:
WARNING: This is a S-L-O-W book. Do not read it while surfing, water-skiing, or running to escape giant weasels . . . .
Even the table of contents is humorous as it lays out the book’s organization with categories such as, “Slow geology facts—knowledge to help your forehead fossilize” or “Slow plant facts—green ponderings to deeply root you.”
I can’t wait to booktalk this to my first-hour
middle-school students, who resemble slugs.
One of the first animals featured in the book is, to no surprise, the snail. The garden snail travels at .1 inches per second, taking 1 minute and 26 seconds to cross an 8.5-inch sheet of notebook paper. But then we learn about robosnails that are being developed to lay down a trail of slime that will allow them to glide slowly across terrain that regular robots cannot. And did you know that some scientist woke up with the idea to test sea-snail teeth? Turns out they are stronger than the previous winner, spider silk, and beat out bullet-proof vests too, so the study continues to “find ways to manufacture this material in order to make stronger, safer products for humans.” Who knew? Perhaps my favorite snail fact was the double-page spread about real “snail mail.” The author’s husband used a service to send her an email delivered by snail. It took 17 months and 2 days and was carried by a real snail with transmitters on its back. You can read the incredibly slow transmitting details on pages 36–37.
I can’t wait to booktalk this to my first-hour middle-school students, who resemble slugs—and to the sixth-hour students, post-lunch, who need some slowing down. It’s perfect for both groups.
Lynn: Sayre has accumulated eye-opening (or should that be eye-closing?) categories of slow things that range from nature, geology, and the human body to the arts. The humorous, wordplay-filled text is packed with shareable facts and presents a new way to think about the world. Scattered throughout are pages encouraging us all to slow down and enjoy, to think and reflect. My favorite section may be the “Slow Things to Try with” suggestions and the last spread, which indicates a place to put your head down on the page. Sayre provides “Not Exactly the End Notes: Extra Nourishment for Sticky Thinkers and Snailish Sorts” with lots more interesting facts to slowly read through.
I HAVE to mention the wonderful and very clever illustrations from Kelly Murphy. I must say however that the book design and bright orange cover QUICKLY caught my attention.
Be careful! There might be consequences for all this slow fun. Here’s another warning to young readers that Sayre provides at the beginning:
Please consult a qualified librarian before reading your next book;
after this, a fast-paced book might discombobulate your brain.