Sylvester's Letter

Sylvester's Letter

  • ISBN: 9781592703807
  • Publication Date: August 29, 2023


Price: $19.95

From the superb, creative duo behind Drawing on Walls, A Story of Keith Haring comes this heartfelt story about the loss of a beloved grandparent that yet centers enthusiasm, adventure, and an ebullient creativity rarely seen in books about loss. 

Some letters can’t be delivered in the usual way… but Sylvester has a plan: if it's couriered by some energetic parachutists, a train speeding through the jungle, and a river packed with piranhas and pink dolphins, his letter is sure to reach its final destination.

What makes this letter so important?  Well, Sylvester wrote it for his beloved G.G. (Greatest Grandma), whom he's missing, and it's filled with happy memories and loads of love. G.G. may be gone, but she’s still Sylvester’s favorite person—the most pickle-loving and fun person he knows! This is a gorgeously illustrated picture book (evincing special, bold colors) about how love, humor, and imagination connect us to each other across life and death, and serve to keep alive the spirit of those who are no longer with us.


? “The prose is spare yet poignant, deftly crafting a picture of all the little ways G.G. was special to Sylvester... Vivid illustrations rendered in bold marker strokes capture the story’s varied moods, including a brightly colored gatefold that opens to an exuberant, marvelously detailed depiction of Sylvester’s grand ideas, followed by pages in somber shades after Sylvester realizes his plans won’t work. This poignant journey through grief resolves on an uplifting note as Sylvester receives a sign that his message got through after all, and he decides to pursue a new skill to honor G.G.’s legacy. VERDICT: Simultaneously comforting and heartbreaking, this is a beautiful ode to imagination, determination, and the uniquely precious relationship between a grandparent and grandchild.”
—School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

? "How does one commune with the dearly departed? Although listeners won’t know the nature of young Sylvester’s grandmother’s absence until they piece together context clues, this is the matter the child is working out... Poet Burgess and artist Cochran—the team that produced Drawing on Walls (2020)—expertly capture an imaginative child’s perspective and logic with lovely, alliterative language and wordless spreads rendered in brilliant colors and markerlike scrawls. A marvelous double gatefold portrays the entire journey... A nuanced celebration of the lasting joy that intergenerational friendship inspires."
—Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

"Loss fuels a creative contemplation of love in this imaginative story of memoriam from the creators of Drawing on Walls... Cochran works in dynamic, pixelated art that pulses with color... Merging fantasy and reality, the creators pay tribute to the way Sylvester’s love helps to process longing and sorrow."
—Publishers Weekly

“Writer Matthew Burgess and illustrator Josh Cochran use buoyant language and joyful colors to show a young boy’s love for his dead grandmother and his determination to get a letter delivered to her. Any parent who has ever had a child rush up to explain the minutiae of, say, a newly built Lego spaceship will recognize the tremendous excitement, the wild imaginativeness, of the boy as he explains how he will dispatch his letter via a team of skydivers… and, and!—as two pages open out in a gatefold, the whole extravagant vision bursts into view.”
—Wall Street Journal

“The whimsical images created with bold colors and thick brushstrokes have a kidlike energy and charm. Wordless spreads, including a gatefold that shows everything in this child’s mind and heart, give readers the opportunity to digest the magnitude of his emotions… The specificity of Sylvester’s experience gives this book a wistful note, and the ambiguity allows for the opportunity to consider many types of absence.”
—The Horn Book

“At the beginning of the book, Sylvester is writing a letter to the ‘greatest Grandma’. His vivid and exuberant illustrations show what he would want to tell his special grandmother if he could… Gradually we begin to understand that Sylvester’s grandmother is dead and that is the reason that he is having such difficulty getting his letter to her. The illustrations are reflective of Sylvester’s imagination and fill the pages with color and swoopy exuberance… A big ‘I Love You’ covers part of the last page. The message got through.”
—Youth Services Book Review, STARRED REVIEW, Pam Watts, Head of Children’s Services (Robbins Library, Arlington, MA)

Show More