The SLOWEST Book EVER by April Pulley Sayre



Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

slowest book ever

Author: April Pulley Sayre
Illustrator: Kelly Murphy
Published April 5th, 2016 by Boyds Miller Press

Goodreads Summary: April Pulley Sayre’s wry, quirky storytelling tone shines from the warning on the first page (“This is a S-L-O-W book. Do not read it while surfing, water skiing, or running to escape giant weasels.”) right through to the glossary at the end. In between, readers will explore an astounding variety of information about all things slow—in nature, geology, art, outer space, etc. Throughout, The SLOWEST Book EVER playfully encourages readers to slow down and savor everything. As Sayre shows: “If you think slowly enough, the entire world is amazing.” This innovative nonfiction work is a treasure trove of information that begs for multiple readings.  

Kellee’s Review: Anyone who teaches knows that the most popular nonfiction books are the ones that have a ton of information in short segments with fun pictures. Well, Sayre’s The SLOWEST Book EVER is exactly that but even better than you are picturing. Sayre does such a great job of having a small amount of information that packs a very big punch. Although each fact is over only a 2-page spread, the information is thorough, interesting, and specific. I loved the wide range of topics that were all covered under the big idea of SLOW, and I think students will be fascinated with all of the information.

Ricki’s Review: I read a lot of books, and I don’t think I’ve read a book that is quite like this one! It is a compilation of fascinating information that will compel readers to want to learn more about their world. It is apparent that a lot of thought and care went into the crafting and production of this book. Each page is a bit different, so if a reader is uninterested in a topic, he or she can flip the page and find something else entirely different. This book would make a great gift because all children will find sections that intrigue them, regardless of their interests. I’d look forward to going to a class where a teacher used this book used as a read-aloud, reading a few sections each day. This book makes learning fun!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Since The SLOWEST Book EVER includes tidbits of information on many different topics, each spread could easily be used as a jumping off point for an inquiry project. Students browse through the book to determine which spread of information interests them the most then they do more research (using the back matter as a place to start) then share the extra information with their classmates.

The SLOWEST Book EVER also does an amazing thing by looking at all the different ways that SLOW can be defined. After finishing the book as a class, revisit all of the different ways slow was used then brainstorm different meanings of other subjective adjectives such as fast, large, and small. Then student, as a class, could write their own fact book using a different adjective but showing different meanings of that word.

Discussion Questions: Which fact surprised you the most?; The book doesn’t only focus on slow speeds–what ever definitions of slow did the author focus on?; What topics would you like to learn more about? Where could you go to get more information?

We Flagged: “Chewy Nature Thoughts
Read them. Think about them. S l o w l y.
Slow thoughts are often big thoughts. So don’t fret if it takes a while to understand them. Don’t worry if you need to read them twice. -Traveling in a circle is, after all, still traveling.” (p. 8-9)

“How long does a minute feel to a mayfly…?
It’s About Time

Does time fly for a fly? Biologists wonder about this. So you can, too! How long does a minute feel to a mayfly, which may live only one day? How long does a minute feel to a 70-year-old Galápagos Tortoise?” (p. 16-17)


Read This If You Loved: Nonfiction books such as Weird but True by National Geographic, Lifetime by Lola M. SchaeferExtreme Oceans and Extreme Earth Records by Seymour SimonIsland by Jason Chin, The Guinness Book of World Records

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall readaloudbuttonsmall closereadinganalysisbuttonsmall

Signatureand RickiSig

6 thoughts on “The SLOWEST Book EVER by April Pulley Sayre”

  1. “Traveling in a circle is, after all, still traveling” – what a fantastic quote. This book looks fascinating, such an interesting subject to talk about, especially in a world where everything seems to be moving faster and faster!

  2. This book sounds marvelous, and until you shared the example, I still wasn’t sure how it would go. What interesting questions everyone will create after reading. I think you could have a “slow” period of inquiry, then perhaps jumping to “fast”, but the students would find their own questions and creatures. Thanks!

  3. Glad you’re finding value in the book. It’s wonderful to hear how you think educators could use it. The book took 15 years to write and publish so it lived up to its title. I’m hoping it will inspire readers to think creatively and deeply.

  4. I was fortunate enough to meet April Pulley Sayre in passing at ALA summer 2013. I really enjoy her work and this title is new to me. Thank you for highlighting it here. My next book order is going to be huge. ☺


Leave a Comment