It's International Sloth Day and we have the perfect guest!
No, it's not because she lazes around and moves in incremental steps! Cathy is a busy writer who moves at a wonderfully productive speed. Her debut, When A Tree Grows (Sterling, 2019) was joined this year by Sloth and Squirrel in a Pickle (Kids Can Press, 2021). It's that wonderful sloth character and her decision to write him dialogue free that makes Cathy the perfect guest for International Sloth Day!
Sloth, co-star of my new picture book Sloth and Squirrel in A Pickle, is patiently awaiting his celebratory cake, champagne, flowers, and fan mail. But he probably won’t complain if the deliveries are delayed, or even if they never arrive, because Sloth does not speak!
I became enamored of sloths after reading an article about the power of animal ambassadors to boost zoo attendance. I thought a sloth would make a great picture book character, but there were already many books about these cute, sleepy creatures. How could I make my book stand out?
“Sloth, I want a bike just like that. We could go fast!”
“I don’t know, Squirrel. I like to go slow.”
Then I revised in some fairly terrible ways to drag out Sloth’s speech with way-too-many-vowels-and-hyphens:
“I don’t k-n-o-o-o-w, Squirrel. I like to g-o s-l-o-o-o-w.”
Now my revisions flowed onto the page with ease. Sloth became the deep thinker and idea generator whose body language communicates everything. Sloth’s slow shrugs, nods, smiles and even slurps are the leisurely counterpoint to Squirrel’s rapid-fire, motor-mouth impulsivity.
Although Sloth has no further words of wisdom to add here, he encourages you to explore opting in or out of dialogue in your stories. Consider characters whose actions may speak louder than words. And when it comes to the old axiom “show don’t tell,” an illusionist (or sloth) might suggest just the right magic to make your story sparkle!
To find out more, or get in touch with Cathy: