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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Deer Sylvia, written by Alan Cumyn. Groundwood Books, 2008. $12.95 ages 10 and up

"Deer Sylvia,

By now you know that I haven't sent any letters to you yet even though my birthday was last month. So I am having a hard time. The mail box is not that far away and quiet often I sit down and write to you pages and pages and its easy to seal the onvlopes. But then I think what are you going to think about Sadie's gooey eyes and me and Fillius? ... Also Mom looked at 1 of my letters and said Owen maybe you should use a dikshionarry. So now I have another thing to worry aobut. Sorry, Owen." '

Yippee! Alan Cumyn is back with his third perfect story about Owen Skye and the events that shape his life. We met him in 2002, then again in 2004 and now we are pleased to welcome him back to our reading lives. And always the laughter! Owen was broken-hearted when Sylvia moved away, leaving him the gift of a mound of writing paper to encourage a continued link. The letters he writes to Sylvia are the stuff this wonderful book is made of…and they reflect the voice of a besotted young man whose charm and warmth fill the pages with humor and emotion. Owen is a skilled teller of tales, whose lack of grammatical conventions does nothing to deter the wonder found in the letters he hopes Sylvia will receive and read. Unless you read this book, you will forever wonder what happened to the letters and when you finish you will be asking for MORE!

If this is your first Owen Skye book, do not make it your last. In fact, I would read the first two before enjoying the pleasure that this one is sure to bring. While it is not necessary to do so, it will provide a worthy lead-up to the events portrayed here...and they offer such reading pleasure. Check out The Secret Life of Owen Skye and After Sylvia (both Groundwood, 2002, 2004). You will not be disappointed. Why not get the three for a favorite son, nephew, friend, colleague for Christmas? What a great gift!

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