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Children's Fiction Baby Animals

Kyle Goes Alone

by (author) Jan Thornhill

illustrated by Ashley Barron

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
Aug 2015
Baby Animals, Toilet Training, New Experience, Parents
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2015
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 7
  • Grade: p to 3


Kyle has to go. There’s just one problem: as a young three-toed sloth, he lives high in the rainforest canopy with his mom, and it’s a LONG way down to the forest floor. Like other sloths, Kyle only goes down to the ground once a week when he has to do his “business.” And he’s never made the journey by himself before.
Kyle’s mom says he’s old enough to go alone, but Kyle isn’t sure he’s ready. It’s so far! And won’t it be lonely? Unfortunately, he doesn’t have much time to decide.
As he descends, Kyle’s worries dissipate when he discovers he’s not really alone. He encounters friendly neighbors like the red-spectacled parrot, whipsnake, tiger-legged monkey tree frog and leaf-cutting ant, all camouflaged in the canopy. With encouragement from his mom, he keeps moving — and makes it just in time.
The book closes with two pages of informational text: one about three-toed sloths and the other about camouflage. Cut-paper collage art brings the rainforest canopy and all its many layers to life throughout this sweet, gently humorous story about new experiences and newfound independence.

About the authors

Jan Thornhill is an author, illustrator and designer who brings her fascination with the natural world to her books for children. They include I Found a Dead Bird (National Parenting Publications Gold Award, Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction, Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award); The Wildlife 123 (UNICEF-Ezra Jack Keats International Award for Excellence in Children’s Book Illustration, Governor General’s Award finalist); and The Wildlife ABC (Governor General’s Award finalist). Jan recently won the Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People. She spends her spare time in the woods obsessively collecting and cataloguing wild mushrooms and slime molds.

Jan Thornhill's profile page

Ashley Barron moved to Toronto upon graduating from OCAD’s illustration program in 2007. She lives and works as an illustrator from her studio near Kensington market. She uses paper collage to illustrate just about everything for magazines, advertising, and animation. Over the past two years, Ashley illustrated the four Math in Nature books for Owlkids. She is an avid gardener and lover of flora and fauna, the details of which can be found in her art.

Ashley Barron's profile page


  • Long-listed, Nominated for the Saskatchewan Young Readers' Choice Willow Awards
  • Winner, Vicky Metcalf Award for author Jan Thornhill's body of work

Editorial Reviews

"We all loved this book... the reason we liked it the most was, as Phoenix put it, "Sloths are just cool.""

Globe and Mail

"Stunningly illustrated...this sweet story would be a wonderful addition to the elementary school could be utilized in conjunction with habitat study, a lesson in friendship and encouragement, or simply read for enjoyment. Highly recommended."

School Library Connection

"Thornhill uses gentle humour and a relatable storyline to teach kids about responsibility and overcoming their fears, but the real stars of the book are Ashley Barron's gorgeous paper collage illustrations, which elevate a simple story to a thing of beauty."

Quill & Quire

"Simple and heartwarming...highly recommended."

Midwest Book Review

"A nice choice to introduce young listeners to the rainforest and celebrate independence."

School Library Journal

"In warm, colorful cut-paper collage, the story takes a creative approach to easing children into potty training and other firsts, with the support of loved ones along the way."


"A mix of science and story."

Resource Links

"Kyle Goes Alone will be an appreciated and well-used addition to a school library collection. Highly recommended."

Canadian Review of Materials

"[A] triumph of storytelling, blending scientific non-fiction, collage artistry and sloth-pooping."

CanLit for Little Canadians

"A startlingly informative alternative to the run-of-the-mill potty book."


Other titles by Jan Thornhill

Other titles by Ashley Barron