Sylvia Finds a Way

West Margin Pr. Oct. 2021. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781513289496.
PreS-Gr 2–Often the garden’s smallest occupants are those that have the largest impact. Sylvia, the finger-sized slug, is a mindful mollusk that has a deep appreciation for the lush and bountiful garden in which she dwells. Its sights, sounds, and smells delight her senses and she finds it the perfect backdrop for her yoga practice. She stretches like a cobra, bows like a dog, and arches like a cat, all while her more exuberant garden companions make attempts at seizing the garden’s tasty treats. The furred and feathered garden interlopers—deer, rabbit, and crow—quickly attract the attention of the gardener with their brash movements. Their hopes of getting the delicious corn, peas, and carrots are dashed when a scarecrow appears in the garden. Luckily, Sylvia has a plan. With a bit of grit and a lot of grace, Sylvia uses her greatest assets—kindness, flexibility, and slime—to ask the gardener to share her harvest. Shaw’s evocative descriptions of the flora and fauna will engage young readers and the author’s note gives factual information about slugs and their value to the garden’s ecosystem. Lee’s mixed-media illustrations have a sophisticated palette with an aesthetic that grown-up fans of Anna Rifle Bond will appreciate. The balance between boisterous action and meditative zen makes this title a standout among yoga picture books.
VERDICT A fun, frolicking tale, and welcome addition to picture book collections, that sneaks in an etiquette lesson without feeling overly didactic.

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