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Where have 10 weeks gone? Our little Q-bug is now a 2-month-old and I have been enjoying an extended babymoon, ignoring almost everything else but my precious girl!

I’ve always loved that term used to describe the period of time after a baby in born where mom and baby spend hours can’t get enough of one another and spent all their waking hours, staring into each other’s eyes, touching, cuddling and studying each other’s face.

Sounds like the first weeks and months of falling in love doesn’t it?

Well it is falling in love – in no coincidence that the same hormonal cocktail that occurs in the first few weeks and months of romantic love are the same ones there when a baby comes into this world.

It leaves only one rational conclusion to a most irrational set of feelings: humans are designed to love and to bond with one another.

It’s why we write about it, sing about it, dream about it and it’s precisely why we come out of the womb with the most intense need to be with that one special person who can fulfill all our needs and wants (which in a newborn are one and the same!)

Perhaps it’s the presence of emotion-inducing coursing through my body right now but man I am loving love right now and particularly when it comes to introducing those concepts to children in literature which is why I am head-over-heels for Dear Sylvia by Alan Cumyn (ISBN:9780888998484, Groundwood Books, 2008).

Cover image copyright@2008 Groundwood Books

In this this third and final book in the Owen Skye/Sylvia Tull series, Owen diligently if not incorrectly writes letters to his love Sylvia who has moved to a neighbouring town. Despite his awful spelling and feelings of doubt, our young Romeo leaves nothing out in his bid to win this girl’s heart and through his letters (not yet sent) we are taken through a whirlwind of family drama and upheaval, sibling antics and Scottish dancing, all in the name of love.

There are very few books (in my humble opinion) that could appeal to both young readers and adults in such an honest way and this was one of them. Kids will relate to Owen’s blossoming romantic feelings, confusion about his parents and even his atrocious (and often hilarious) spelling while as an adult I laughed out loud at Owen’s take on the odd behaviour of his parents and clearly enjoyed the nuances that were there waiting for me to read.

I also think this would be a great book for boys (as Owen’s journey into his feelings are cunningly concealed in a hilarious story) or a reluctant reader (as the letter format is just so readable and doesn’t seem so intimidating when sizing up his novel).

Speaking on that, I also love when books for kids are written in a way young minds can understand with imbedded nuances their parents can enjoy. I chuckled often while reading this book as only one can with the corrupted mind of experience can laugh.

Cumyn expertly writes inter-generationally and his two previous works for children, The Secret Life of Owen Skye and After Sylvia have received much acclaim and recognition. His writing seems as dynamic as his own life.

Image of Alan Cumyn by Danielle Shaub

He studied at Royal Roads Military College in 1983, and Queen’s University before earning an M.A. in Creative Writing and English Literature at the University of Windsor. He has lived across Canada and in China and Indonesia, and worked variously as a geologist’s assistant, group home manager, tai chi instructor, English teacher, program officer in international development, human rights researcher and freelance writer.

Cumyn was also a past chair of the Writers in Prison Committee of PEN Canada and the Writer’s Union of Canada, he also teaches part-time through the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

He now lives in Ottawa with his wife, writer Suzanne Evans and their two daughters. Check out more about his work on his website.

Want to fall in love? Get this book!



One Response to “Dear Sylvia: Babymooning with Books”

  1. Laurita says:

    This was one of my very first stops post-vacation. I can’t think of a better place to find more books to replace all the ones my kids consumed over the summer. This looks like a good place to start.nnGlad to hear you’re enjoying the babymoon (so cute).

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