Sylvie by Jennifer Sattler

Lynn: Meet Sylvie, a young flamingo definitely in the “why” stage. “Mama,” she asks, “Why are we pink?” It’s a great question and when Mama answers that it is because the shrimp they eat are pink, the curious Sylvie gets an idea. What happens if she nibbles items of other colors? (Sylvie has obviously heard of the scientific method) Of course, as Sylvie samples she turns a variety of hues from chocolate to purple paisley. Sylvie’s tummy rebels and Sylvie decides it is better to be her pink self after all- with just a touch of panache. Sattler’s whimsical watercolor illustrations are perfect for the Preschool – Kindergarten set, with simple text and a single color element on each page. My twins are crazy about this book – the tummy ache page is their favorite – and the humor works equally well for five-year-olds AND those of us in (late) middle age! The boys give Sylvie (Random, May 2009) a multi-chromatic two thumbs up.

Cindy: Who knew a flamingo could pose in so many funny positions or turn “rather stripey?” The artwork delighted me from the googly-eyed pink shrimp and the vibrant use of color to the wide swaths of brushstrokes of the backgrounds. The natural history lesson is humorously delivered, but young researchers might want to delve deeper to find out what the shrimp are eating that causes them to turn the flamingos pink. Sylvie delivers a good lesson about the perils of overeating and poor nutrition for the current focus on children’s obesity, but done in a fun way that won’t single out overweight children in the classroom. And, for those of us who just can’t stay away from sweets entirely, the cautionary ending allows for a little dessert in moderation!

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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