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Jeffery's Wor(l)d Meets Sloth
Written by Kari-Lynn Winters  
Illustrated by Oana Capota

Jeffery looked at the blank page. It glared back.

No matter how hard Jeffery tried, he couldn’t think of something to write about.

So he doodled, drawing landscapes and his favourite buildings. His ideas were coming slowly, sloth-like, and he found himself sketching a round-bellied, long-armed sloth.

“Focus on the words,” Jeffery muttered to himself as he stared at the ceiling.

“Just forget about the words,” whispered a voice.

Wide eyed, Jeffery looked around. “Who said that?”

Down on the page, now covered with more doodles, he noticed that the sloth he had just sketched looked different. “Hey, I didn’t draw you with your hands on your hips!”

“Good writers have lots of ideas. You don’t have any,” declared the voice, much louder now. Jeffery rubbed his eyes. He had just seen his sloth doodle move!

“Whoa!” Jeffery jumped to his feet, shaking his head in disbelief. “W-w-what d-do you know anyway?” he stammered.

“I know that you’re a lousy writer,” said Sloth.

“I am not a lousy writer! I just can’t think of anything to write about.”

“Well, instead of drawing the CN Tower, make yourself useful and sketch me a chair,” demanded Sloth, pointing his long dangly arm to a perfect spot on the page.

Jeffery did as he was told and drew an overstuffed chair.

Sloth relaxed into the chair. Lounging across it he said with a smirk, “This is good. Now sketch me a blanket.”

“Urgh,” Jeffery sighed. “I’ll never finish my story at this rate!”

“You’re right,” Sloth chuckled, settling into his chair. “You can’t even think of one idea. So why don’t you do something you’re good at and draw me a real cozy blanket.”

Jeffery was tired of listening to Sloth. He knew he had to finish his homework. He began to write.

Once there was a pudgy sloth who was in search of a really cozy blanket.

Suddenly, Sloth stood up. He appeared to be searching for something. “Who are you calling pudgy?” he asked.

Sloth looked up high for that blanket.

He looked to the sky.

He looked down low for that blanket.

He peeked under the chair. “I sure would like that blanket.”

Jeffery now realized what was happening. “Oh, I get it. You don’t want me to write because you’re lazy and you know that whatever I write you have to do!”

“No, no, that’s not it,” Sloth muttered as he looked behind the chair.

“Oh yeah? So if I wrote a story making you dig clear through the earth, you wouldn’t be upset?” asked Jeffery.

Sloth looked worried. “Absolutely not.”

“And if I wrote about you swimming across the ocean, that would make you happy?”

Sloth was sweating now. “I wouldn’t mind.”

Jeffery noticed that Sloth was nervous, but persisted nonetheless. “How about if I made you search all of Canada for a . . . “

Looking anxious, Sloth interrupted, “If I could find that cozy blanket, I wouldn’t mind.”

“You do know that Canada is a big place? You would have to climb mountains, hike the prairies, trek across the tundra, and paddle the Great Lakes.”

“Well, you can’t make me!” And with that, Sloth crossed his arms and plunked himself back down into his chair.

“Oh yeah?” Jeffery’s face reddened with annoyance. He picked up his pencil, sketched a shovel and wrote:

He began to dig.

Sloth was controlled by the words. He had no choice but to pick up the shovel and dig. He was no longer smiling.

He dug a hole clear through the earth to India.

“Now I need some water. Quick, write about water,” ordered Sloth.

Then he swam to France. He vowed to himself that he would find the world’s coziest blanket.

“That’s not what I meant! This water is freezing!” cried Sloth, his teeth chattering.

But the coziest blanket was not there.

Now Jeffery was smiling.

Sloth would have to scan the whole perimeter of Canada. He continuously searched, climbing, trekking, paddling, hiking, wandering, stumbling along...

“Ahem….” Sloth looked wilted from fatigue. “I’m afraid that I made a great mistake….” Sloth was panting now. He was not used to so much exercise. “I said that your writing is boring,” Sloth huffed. “I was wrong. I should have said that your writing is very engaging. And that it makes a lot of sense, too. Honestly, I mean that. In fact, you are a great … no, a marvelous … no, a wonderful writ...”

“Okay,” said Jeffery. He knew just what Sloth was doing. He looked down at the page and realized that, thanks to Sloth, his homework was done! Jeffery felt confident again. He smiled as he wrote:

And finally, the very tired sloth found the world’s coziest blanket and happily fell fast asleep.

Sloth snuggled into the chair, cuddled the blanket, and closed his eyes.

Jeffery moved to put his pen down but changed his mind and quickly added:

At least for that evening.

Sloth Research