After Sylvia


200 pages
ISBN 0-88899-612-8
DDC jC813'.54






Reviewed by Sylvia Pantaleo

Sylvia Pantaleo is an associate professor of education, specializing in
children’s literature, at the University of Victoria. She is the
co-author of Learning with Literature in the Canadian Elementary


In this sequel to Cumyn’s award-winning book The Secret Life of Owen
Skye, Owen’s true love, Sylvia Tull, has moved to Elgin, and even a
slobbering, energetic, rock-obsessed dog that adopts Owen cannot ease
his pain. Owen and his brothers, Andy and Leonard, continue to have
adventures that often lead to mishaps, such as the fire in their bedroom
that results in Owen descending the drainpipe, and the dent in the
family station wagon that results in a cancelled camping trip.

Owen’s new teacher organizes a Junior Achievers Program, and Owen is
elected its vice-president. The president of the Junior Achievers
suggests selling calendars to raise money for a class trip to Japan.
During a trip to Elgin to sell some of his 100 calendars, Owen visits

Owen is thrilled when Sylvia attends his birthday party. She gives him
stationery, envelopes, a sheet of stamps (Owen sent Sylvia a Christmas
card but forgot the postage), and a note telling him how much she misses
his stories. When Uncle Lorne’s wife goes into labour at the party and
all of the adults depart for the hospital, the children must carry on
with the birthday celebrations by themselves.

Owen is such a likeable character, and readers will empathize with him
as he learns many life lessons (including how to crack an egg). The
dialogue and actions of the boys, as well as their female cousins, are
authentic and often very humorous. The plot is engaging and
entertaining. Highly recommended.


Cumyn, Alan., “After Sylvia,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 12, 2024,