Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 15, 2021

Book Giveaway: SLOTH AND SQUIRREL IN A PICKLE by Cathy Ballou Mealey

Cathy Ballou Mealey has a new picture book SLOTH AND SQUIRREL IN A PICKLE, illustrated by KELLY COLLIER and published by Kids Can Press. They have agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner living in the United States.

All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Cathy and Kelly.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and receive an extra ticket. Thanks!


A speedy squirrel and a sleepy sloth try to get the job done in this funny, heartwarming tale of two lovable, but unlikely, friends.

Though Sloth and Squirrel are good friends, they have different ways of doing things — and different speeds of doing them. So, when Squirrel gets them jobs as pickle packers to earn money for a new bike, things don’t go according to plan. It seems that the contrasting skill sets of a fast-as-lightening squirrel and a slow-as-molasses sloth can make for a mess of an outcome, and before long, the friends are shown the pickle factory’s door, along with the 677 1/2 jars of pickles they packed incorrectly! Now the pair are bicycle-less, with only pickles to show for themselves. Or so they think — until the resourceful pair come up with an ingenious plan!

This delightful story from Cathy Ballou Mealey is a celebration of friendships of all kinds and a testament to ingenuity and hard work. Packed with funny details that aren’t in the text, Kelly Collier’s engaging illustrations are full of personality and silly, emotionally expressive humor. Together they create a hilarious picture book that’s perfect for a fun and lively read-aloud. At the same time, the positive themes in the book highlight a growth mindset and character education lessons on teamwork, perseverance and initiative.


In 2018 I clicked on a Wall Street Journal article about animal ambassadors entitled Sloths Hot, Armadillos Not: Zoos Seek Affection for Overlooked Species. While I would not recommend writing toward a trend, I thought the slow, sleepy, cuddly-looking creature had plenty of appeal as a picture book protagonist. To enliven the illustration potential, I added Squirrel, an active and animated tree-dwelling buddy to become Sloth’s perfect sidekick in a funny friendship adventure.

At a sloth’s pace, their silly storyline unfolded. I happened to notice a billboard for “Brooklyn Pickle Packers” and loved the crisp, staccato ‘k’ sounds. I decided Sloth and Squirrel would become pickle packers in order to do something fun, like pedal along together on a tandem bicycle. And why not add in another alliterative character – a peacock? Soon I had assembled a fun cast with tangy, tasty ingredients for a satisfying picture book manuscript.

After many drafts and much revision, the pickle packers found a perfect publishing home at Kids Can Press. Sloth and Squirrel were brought to life on the page by the hand of the terrifically talented Kelly Collier. Kelly showcased Sloth’s eager, fuzzy earnestness and Squirrel’s energetic enthusiasm in a stylish, pale pickle-green palette accented with vibrant red and turquoise touches. Plus she designed a magnificent office for Mr. Peacock, the pickle plant manager, that is beyond compare!


Cathy Ballou Mealey has never picked a peck of pickled popsicles, but she has been a crossing guard, pet-sitter, and professional gift-wrapper among many other jobs. Her favorite pickle is a crisp and tangy bread-and-butter chip. She lives with her family north of Boston, where she delights in watching silly squirrel antics and is waiting patiently for a sloth to appear.

Cathy’s debut picture book WHEN A TREE GROWS, illustrated by Kasia Nowowiejska, was published by Sterling Children’s Books in 2019. SLOTH AND SQUIRREL IN A PICKLE, illustrated by Kelly Collier, was published by Kids Can Press in 2021. Cathy is represented by Liza Fleissig of Liza Royce Associates.





Author-illustrator Kelly Collier was born in Ottawa and grew up in Toronto. She has an identical twin sister and an older brother. As kids, Kelly and her sister drew all the time, mostly in an effort to “outdraw” their brother. Kelly studied illustration in college and has had lots of editorial work published, but has always wanted to create a children’s book. The idea for A Horse Named Steve came from a doodle she did to fill a small empty frame at home. Kelly married a fellow artist who doesn’t complain when her projects take over the entire house, she has a dog who sort of resembles Steve and she really loves gold.

Cathy, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I don’t have a copy of the book, but it looks like it is a ton of fun and a load of giggles. I love the illustrations Kelly created for the book and how your book will help kids understand that friends can be totally different and still be best friends. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. how very cute!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my Gosh, this book sounds like so much fun! By reading the author and illustrator bios, I can see why!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This book looks great! I think my K students will love this friendship story with a catchy name. It may even teach them that we can be friends with others that may be different. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this book! It looks funny and engaging, and pickles! yay! Congrats, Cathy and Kelly! I’m going to be looking for this one.

    I tweeted this post and I follow by email, Kathy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This sounds like a fun, new read-aloud! Congratulations, Kathy & Kelly!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Positively precious 🦥🐿

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a fun story. I’m already a sloth and squirrel fan. Thanks!
    I’ve tweeted:, and shared on Pinterest:
    I also follow daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
    Thanks again, have a great day!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Putting this one on my to – read list! Looks fabulous -funny and sweet -congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What can be better than a sloth and a pickle? A book about both! Thanks for sharing. Lynne Marie [ A Newsletter Subscriber.]

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am SO excited for my #Notable19 buddy Cathy and her new book!!! 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mwah! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Whee! Great post! And I LOVE the humor AND the palette!!!
    (Just wanted to chime in, no need to add me to the giveaway entries – I work in a bookstore!)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Congrats, Cathy and Kelly! Looks like a fun read! I follow your blog daily, Kathy and tweeted about this book:

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I already wanted to read this book, and now that I’ve seen the peacock picture, I want to even more! This looks so funny. (Kathy, I subscribe to this blog and am sharing this on twitter.)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Reblogged this on Teresa Robeson 何顥思 and commented:
    My sweet and funny friend Cathy Balou Mealey has a new book and it’s adorable! Go to Kathy Temean’s blog for a chance to win a copy.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Love hearing the back story for this book. Sounds so cute. Congrats again, Cathy!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. What a fun book! Congratulations, Cathy!!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This sounds like a super-fun title (especially since I recently took a pickle making class)–congrats! Kathy, I subscribe to your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love that you took a pickle-making class Nancy – how fun! 🙂


  18. Looks like both sloth and squirrel are having a great time! And I’m sure I will too when I read the book.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I have my copy already, but want to say I love the characters Cathy created. So funny and authentic!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mwah! Thanks Lauri!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. So cute, love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Congrats, Cathy and Kelly! This book looks adorable.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I love the combination of friends and how they work together to accomplish a goal. I can’t wait to see the illustrations for myself. I’m an email subscriber and shared on social:


  23. Oh my gosh! Such fun! I love the concept, the friendship theme, the pickles, the fabulous cast of characters, and the clever title. Can’t wait to read this. Congratulations, Cathy and Kelly. (I subscribe to the blog.)

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Sloth and Squirrel – I’m guessing if they weren’t in a pickle, they’d be in a jam! This looks SO cute – can’t wait to read it!


  25. This book looks perfectly adorable. Thanks for the heads up.


  26. This looks like a really fun read aloud! The illustrations are adorable! I can’t wait to read this! Congratulations Cathy and Kelly!

    Kathy, I get your blog daily.


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