Sammy the Sloth may have had a slow start to his career in sports in “Sammy Sloth Sports Superstar,” but the book’s author, Ryan Sloth, quickly became a new favorite among elementary students at Orient-Macksburg Monday.
“I thought the kids enjoyed hearing from him, knowing that he had a local connection with his kids going to Nodaway Valley,” Orient-Macksburg Principal Teresa Thompson said.
Sloth — a former Iowa State University and Iowa Barnstormers football player — released his first book with Sammy the Sloth about six years ago. In addition to his writing success, Sloth has coached at ISU and for the Iowa Barnstormers and played as a football player in the movies “We are Marshall,” “The Dark Knight Rises” and “The Amazing Spiderman.”
“My first three books have a little message to each one for the kids,” Sloth said.
In “Sammy Sloth Sports Superstar,” Sammy tries to find a sport that he can excel at, but most of the sports are too fast paced for a sloth.
After failing to make the basketball, baseball and football teams, Sammy’s persistence pays off when he finally makes the golf team.
“When I read the stories I have certain voices that I do for the characters,” Sloth said.
Sammy Sloth is the main character in Sloth’s next two books. Sammy learns about confidence while playing in a big tournament and has to develop patience while waiting to hook a big fishing on his first outdoor adventure.
“The kids got excited with him being a former Iowa State and Iowa Barnstormers football player,” Thompson said. “They enjoyed the sports and jungle theme of his books.”
Sloth said he always gets a kick out of watching the students’ reaction when he reveals the big fish Sammy Sloth is able to reel in.
“My fourth book I actually wrote with my son, Tucker, who is in second grade at Nodaway Valley,” Sloth said. “It was fun working with him and seeing the whole book come alive.”
Sloth has visited more than 500 schools and 10 states promoting his children’s books.
Thompson said teachers are planning to use the event as a motivation for the students to start their own writing projects.