The Adventures of Dr. Sloth: Rebecca Cliffe and Her Quest to Protect Sloths

True or false: Sloths are lazy. Answer: False! True or false: Sloths are mysterious. Answer: True! Scientists are only beginning to discover how sloths live in the wild.


Sloths spend most of their lives in trees, and until recently scientists didn’t know very much about them. But Dr. Rebecca Cliffe was determined to discover their secrets. To find out more, she fitted sloths with special backpacks containing a device to track their activity. She learned how to climb trees in the Costa Rican jungle so she could take sloth hair samples and test their DNA. And she’s helped create sloth crossings and plant trees to ensure the sloths aren’t trapped in shrinking territories. Along the way, she earned the nickname Dr. Sloth.

Discover the story of how an animal-loving kid in England grew up to become one of the world’s leading sloth scientists, and learn how Dr. Sloth is using her discoveries to help keep sloths safe. Author and professional wildlife photographer Suzi Eszterhas brings readers up close to the action with engaging text and fantastic photos. Scan QR codes throughout the book to see her videos of sloths in the wild!


School Library Journal

Gr 3-6–Many young readers won’t know that sloths only eat leaves, and move so slowly that a special type of algae grows on them. This book combines that kind of detail and scientific research with stunning photography to serve up fascinating information about these sometimes mysterious, sometimes adorable creatures. QR codes throughout the book give readers access to videos of sloths doing sloth things—as a baby, chewing a leaf, yawning. After a brief history of Dr. Becky and why she embarked on a sloth study, the focus is on the unique and slow-moving world of sloths. Throughout the book, conservation and protection of sloths remain the overarching goal. Maps and photographs are included with basic facts and fun trivia. A glossary, further reading , websites, and index are included. VERDICT Overall, a delightful addition to any library, helping readers not just to understand sloths, but to understand why safeguarding them and their habitats is critical.

–Amanda Chacon


The Adventures of Dr. Sloth: Rebecca Cliffe and Her Quest to Protect Sloths.

By Suzi Eszterhas. Illus. by the author

Apr. 2022. 40p. Lerner/Millbrook, lib. ed., $30.65 (9781541589391). Gr. 3–6. 599.313

Plenty of full-color photos adorn this account of scientist Rebecca Cliffe’s work researching sloths and advocating for their conservation. On splashy pages, Eszterhas describes some of Cliffe’s research—outfitting sloths in little backpacks containing radio trackers, for instance—along with some of her findings. In addition to ample information about sloth anatomy, behavior, and habitat, Eszterhas offers a fascinating glimpse at the work of a scientist currently active in her field. Cliffe spends long hours observing animals in the jungle, climbs high into the trees, and learns a lot about sloths by sifting through their poop. Many sloth populations are facing habitat loss, and Eszterhas devotes many pages to efforts to preserve natural spaces and rehabilitate injured sloths, as well as some of the community outreach efforts Cliffe undertakes to encourage communities to cultivate sloth-friendly environments. Occasional QR codes link to videos of sloths in the wild, and robust back matter, including easy steps kids can take to help sloths, closes out this visually engaging volume. Kids passionate about animal conservation will love this.

— Sarah Hunter


Suzi Eszterhas

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