Alan Cumyn’s “Owen Skye books are literary masterpieces of their genre. In the context of three brothers’ grandiose adventures and susceptible imaginations, he evokes fundamental moments when insight shifts: a first realization of mortality, the fleeting time we have on earth, or romantic love that moves from the ideal to the warmly, wonderfully, egg-splatteringly real.” ~ Vicky Metcalf Award citation
“For days and weeks he imagined an airplane suddenly falling out of the sky, rushing at a thousand miles an hour straight into the windows of the classroom. While all the other kids ran for the door he’d flash across and tackle Sylvia under a desk so that the plane crash would just miss the both of them. Everybody else would be killed, so she’d have to marry him.”
Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award 2004 Mr. Christie’s Book Award 2002 finalist Governor General’s Award 2002
“Well, every year the teachers choose a new multiplication code,” Horace said. “They get together in a big, secret meeting in the summertime, and they say, ‘Seven times six used to be forty-two, but this year we’ll agree to make it forty-seven.'”
“They can’t do that!” Owen said in alarm.
“Of course they can. They’re teachers. They can do what they want.”
Finalist TD Award for Children’s Literature 2005 Finalist Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children 2005
Mom doesn’t like The Invisible Enshurince Man!
She spent all afternoon reading and reading in the bedroom with the door closed. When she finally came out her face looked gray as an old newspaper that’s been left in the wall for 100 years and when you have to open up the wall to look for someone’s skullbone instead you find the newspaper.
She said—who is Rebecca?
And Dad said—I made her up!
And Mom said—I want to know who she is!
But Dad couldn’t tell her.
Silver Birch Express Award 2009 finalist Ottawa Book Award 2009
“Alan Cumyn, who has written so many celebrated adult novels… is fast becoming one of today’s leading Canadian writers for children. His Owen Skye books can stand beside the works of such established writers as Kit Pearson, Tim Wynne-Jones, Robert Munsch and Dennis Lee.” Aida Hudson, The Ottawa Citizen
“Cumyn has a sense of humour that’s shot through with wonder, a knack for showing a boy’s tender side without ever sounding soppy. Indeed, After Sylvia is full of hilarious moments–Owen hanging off a drainpipe in a fit of impetuosity; Owen trying to sell tractor calendars from door to door; the crystal radio suddenly issuing bird calls when the boys are supposed to be asleep. At the same time, it’s poignant and true: Cumyn evokes family fights, boring winter dinners… and moments of excruciating embarrassment with uncanny precision. (‘Her voice seemed very bright,’ Cumyn writes of Owen’s mother at the moment her brother spills the beans about Owen’s secret love, ‘like that of a doctor who has extracted a heart from a chest and is watching it beat on the table.’) It’s rare to get a novel of such boy appeal that’s also funny, wise and literary, simultaneously slapstick and deeply perceptive.” Deirdre Baker, The Toronto Star