Mervin the Sloth Is About To Do the Best Thing in the World

illus. by Ruth Chan. 40p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062338471.
PreS-Gr 1—Emerging readers will delight in reading this metafiction narrative. The text descends from the top of the pages over the course of four spreads. The words of the work are the title itself, and a red fox watches with approval as Mervin the sloth stands nearby. A bird collides with the text and complains about its placement; he knows the best thing in the world is flying. Moles pop up from the green bottom of the page—for them the best thing is digging. A gazelle prances by, and other animals come on the scene offering opinions of what the best thing in the world would be, ranging from being president of the world to fighting a shark to inventing a time machine. They bicker and wait, and finally readers see the best thing in the world when Mervin hugs his best friend, the unnamed fox. The simple, distinguished watercolor illustrations create drama, and the details on every page invite repeated viewings.
VERDICT A fabulous choice for young readers and for storytime sharing.

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