Kirkus Reviews QR Code
SYLVIA FINDS A WAY by Stephanie Shaw


by Stephanie Shaw ; illustrated by Fiona Lee

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-51328-949-6
Publisher: West Margin Press

A slug saves the day for some hungry friends.

Sylvia, a small slug who likes to practice yoga and consider “the promise of a new day,” eyes the lush flower and vegetable garden that a bespectacled, olive-skinned, dark-haired child and adult tend. When Sylvia’s friends—Deer, Rabbit, and Crow—invade the garden and try to steal some of its bounty, the humans shoo them away and install a scarecrow and a sign: “KEEP OUT!” Sylvia determines to help her friends gain access. Despite her friends’ skepticism (she can’t leap, dart, or fly, after all), Sylvia slips under the garden fence and, using her best yoga moves, writes a cursive “PLEASE” in the dirt, which inspires in the humans an act of beneficence: They place carrots, peas, and corn outside the garden fence for the creatures to eat (along with a new sign that reads, “Welcome Everyone”). Illustrations depict Sylvia as spotted with two large cartoon eyes atop her antennae. Following the story is an author’s note that includes facts about slugs. But any child wanting to learn more about slugs would do well to find an informational book instead of one that anthropomorphizes them—and that imparts such an earnest and somewhat overbearing message (one that altogether skirts the food chain) about kindness. Yoga fans may get a kick out of a slug mastering a locust pose, but otherwise the story lacks luster.

A treacly take on the forbidden-garden narrative.

(Picture book. 4-8)