cover image Sylvester’s Letter

Sylvester’s Letter

Matthew Burgess, illus. by Josh Cochran. Enchanted Lion, $19.95 (48p) ISBN 978-1-59270-380-7

Loss fuels a creative contemplation of love in this imaginative story of memoriam from the creators of Drawing on Walls. Young narrator Sylvester, portrayed with pale skin and dark hair, sits at a table, drawing means of sending the letter they’ve written to “G.G. (Greatest Grandma).” Cochran works in dynamic, pixelated art that pulses with color. In the child’s drawings, skydivers will deliver the letter, after Sylvester “high-five[s] them onto the plane.” The skydivers, portrayed with varying skin tones, jump and make a human flower; the skydiver carrying the envelope lands on a train in a jungle. In reality, the child tucks the letter into a knapsack, cycles into the mountains, and launches it off a precipice in a toy plane whose arc mimics that of distant shooting stars. Now, pages toggle between sentences of the letter (“I miss you every day. I always think of you when Mom puts a pickle on my plate,” Burgess writes) and images of the child’s journey home, where a small but miraculous occurrence seems to signal a reply. Merging fantasy and reality, the creators pay tribute to the way Sylvester’s love helps to process longing and sorrow. Ages 6–up. (Aug.)