The friendship between this unlikely pair of buddies shines from the first lines of this story. They are a team! They see each others’ good qualities, and when they make mistakes, there is no blame – they help each other out.



Cathy Ballou – Author
Kelly Collier – Illuistrator

Sloth was snoozing on a branch when Squirrel woke him with an exclamation. Opening one eye Sloth saw squirrel nearly salivating over a tandem bike rolling past.

Squirrel wanted to go fast too and was determined to get a bike. He leaped from the tree, bound down the hill, and circled another tree three times before Sloth had even set his toes on the ground.


When they got to the bike shop, Spokes, Squirrel was disappointed to discover that bikes “‘cost a lot of money.’”

But then Sloth noticed the Help Wanted sign on the wall of the pickle packing plant next to the shop.

They went inside and got an interview with Mr. Peacock. Squirrel showed his self-confidence. “‘I work fast. Really fast. I can bury a million, maybe a jillion acorns in an hour,” he boasted. Mr. Peacock looked at Sloth dubiously. Squirrel said that Sloth was “‘really, really… reliable.’”

The pickle-packer manager, a magnificent blue-feathered peacock, is not impressed with their work. However, he pays them—mostly in pickles.

After an interview they hesitantly are offered the job by a crusty looking peacock manager.

Oh oh!  Pickle packing takes speed and skill and the job doesn’t go too well for Sloth and Squirrel.  They discover the pickles are slippery, the jars are slippery and the floor gets slippery quickly!  By noon Sloth and Squirrel had packed only six jars!!!

The pickle-packer manager, the magnificent blue-feathered peacock, is not impressed with their work.  He truly isn’t happy but grants them one more day of employment after he is assured they can do much better.

AND… he pays them —mostly in pickles!


So… what do you do when you can’t  pickle pack to perfection and you find yourself in a real pickle? Well…. you take those pickles and create a job that you will love, and Sloth comes up with an idea that pays off!

When Sloth’s tropical ice pop plops to the ground (because he eats very s-l-o-w-l-y), he invents a new treat.

The success of their pickle-pop business means that Sloth and Squirrel can finally buy their tandem bike.   Using problem-solving, teamwork, ingenuity and creativity the two friends finally manage to reach their monetary goal and their dream bike becomes a reality.  Success!


This story is about teamwork, ingenuity and creativity.  So, I have a challenge for your child and a partner.


Create the tallest free standing tower you can with your supplies.  The marshmallow must go on the top of the structure, and the tower should be built on the table.  You may not add anything to the supplies you have been given.  Set a timer for 15 minutes.

Perhaps you might like to invite another team to join you for this challenge.

Here is the list of your supplies:

1.  Twenty sticks of spaghetti

2.  One large marshmallow

3.  A yard of masking tape

4.  A yard of yarn