Saturday, January 30, 2021

Saturday Morning Cartoons- Sylvie

Kantorovitz, Sylvie. Sylvie
February 9th 2021 by Walker Books US
E ARC provided by

N.B. In the E ARC, the main character was named Lisette. In the finished edition, the editor has assured me that this has been corrected. 

Young Lisette has come from Morocco to France with her father, who is a school principal, her mother, who is a teacher, and her younger brother Alibert. The family lives in an apartment at the school where her father is principal, and there are a couple of other families of staff members who are also in the building. This gives Lisette plenty to do, and she and her brother enjoy the freedom that they have. The parents fight a lot, and have high expectations of the children. After two younger children are born, the fights increase. Alibert is frequently in trouble, so is sent away to a boarding school, and Lisette moves herself into a small attic room at the school, where she enjoys the quiet. She is very interested in art, but her parents aren't keen for her to pursue that as a career option. Her father had been interested in art, but gave it up in order to pursue a career in education. The family is ethnically Jewish but nonobservant, although in the 1960s and 70s, the French children are not particularly kind. There are many anecdotes about Lisette's life, and we see her react to many events and interactions before she decides to go to art school and become a teacher. 
Strengths: This peek into French culture in the 1960s and 1970s was very interesting, and the fact that the family lived at a school was fascinating! Ms. Kantorovitz is an illustrator of children's books, so readers who enjoy her work might like to find out  more about her. 
Weaknesses: I was very confused by the fact that the main character in the book was called Lisette or Liseron when this was clearly a memoir. 
What I really think: While I found this to be a very interesting snap shot of life in France, it was a bit slow paced and not quite the kind of graphic novel my students prefer. 

Ms. Yingling

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