Author/Illustrator: Christine Sharp
As soon as I heard about Sylvia, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this delightful picture book. Sylvia the Snail is in love with Simon the Gardener – or at least his produce. She pines for his parsley and peas, and thinks his spinach and strawberries are scrumptious. Sadly, the feeling is not mutual, at least in the beginning.
Early childhood educators will love Sylvia. The story ties in nicely with Sustainability (a cross-curricula priority in the Australian Curriculum) and any unit about growth and living things. The text is full of rich vocabulary (luscious, scrumptious, defeated, smitten, persistence, salute…) and I am a big fan of texts which embrace interesting descriptive language instead of shying away from it. Strong alliteration features throughout, and will be easy for young readers to identify.
The illustrations are delicious, and I especially like the way readers can see above and below the ground. The changing point of view between Sylvia’s perspective and Simon’s is very well done, and the juxtaposition of the two perspectives on the opening spread makes for a wonderful beginning. Also worth discussing with students here is the way Sharp has given equal size, and therefore importance, to both characters.
UQPress always do a great job with their teacher’s notes, and these ones are well worth downloading (although I would love to see direct links with Outcomes).
My only criticism of this picture book is the inclusion of the tiny plane as I would have preferred something more organic in the narrative resolution. It’s only a small comment though, and doesn’t stop Sylvia from being an early childhood text I highly recommend.
- Early Childhood / Lower Primary
- Classroom reading
- Discussing new vocabulary
- Introducing alliteration
- Discussing text positioning
- Links with Science Curriculum
- Links with Sustainability
* I received a review copy of Sylvia courtesy of UQPress. No payment was received for this review and all opinions are my own.