Sylvia is a delightfully daft picture book about the unrequited love of … a snail.
Yes, Sylvia is a snail who is in love with Simon Green and his vegie patch: his luscious lettuce, choice cucumbers and buttery beans. Needless to say, he is not so enamoured of her! Have a look at the sample pages on the UQP website to see Sharp’s brilliant illustration of his enraged face bellowing GET OUT! at her, and it is just possible that even if you are a grower of vegetables yourself, you may feel a tinge of empathy when you see her slide away and shrink into her shell, sobbing her little heart out for love of Simon.
What to do? Well, with her shimmering trail she writes Simon a love letter, but Simon is aghast when he sees the damaged kale and the nibbled tomatoes. He’s an organic gardener who sells his produce at the farmer’s market – and he knows how fussy customers are. (I don’t understand why people would rather buy an unblemished over-sized strawberry that tastes like water instead of a small flavoursome one, but then, I don’t understand why people eat processed food and junk food either).
But to Simon’s surprise – and the amused reader’s too – Sylvia finds a way to make a public declaration of her love, and it turns out to be the best kind of advertising he could possibly have. Love blooms in all kinds of unexpected ways, eh?
You can download teacher’s notes from UQP.
Author and illustrator: Christine Sharp
Publisher: UQP (University of Queensland Press, 2014
Source: review copy courtesy of UQP.