Peter & Ernesto have a good life: the two sloths sit in their Amazon treetop and make up songs about the animal shapes they see in the clouds. But one day, Ernesto gets it into his head to see the whole sky, from every place on Earth, and sets out through the jungle.

For all that Peter and Ernesto are great friends, they're not all that alike: Ernesto's thirst for adventure is matched by Peter's insistence on staying in his tree, with all the other sloths. Despite that, they are very close friends indeed, and when Ernesto sets off, Peter is heartbroken — so much so that he follows his friend into the wilds that terrify him.

Creator Graham Annable presents the two journeys — Ernesto delightedly plowing ahead, Peter timidly following and fretting, as a set of counterpoints, but it's a sneaky story with a less-than-obvious moral.

Because although Ernesto's fearlessness means that he is distracted from missing his old pal, eventually the adventure wears thing — and although Peter's timidity means that he doesn't have as much fun as Ernesto, it also means that he's more aware of the creatures he disturbs with his passage, and it means that he gets to help rescue lost wanderers and unite them with their friends.

The reunion of Peter and Ernesto makes you realize that rather than extolling the one-sided virtues of an adventurous spirit, Annable has made the case for caution and boldness, for homebodies and trailblazers, and shown the complementarity of the two approaches.

My kid picked this one up off my pile and read it to herself and pronounced it "really interesting" and our conversations returned to it in the days that followed. It's a nuanced and delightful story of friendship, adventure and a world that has room in it for more than one kind of virtue.

Peter & Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths [Graham Annable/Firstsecond]