The Good Garden, 2010
Sylvie Daigneault was born in Montreal, Quebec, where from a very young age she spent her summers at a country cottage. There was no television, no radio — just books, a lake to swim in and nature for inspiration, all of which gave her creative mind a chance to blossom. While at the cottage, Sylvie also learned how to garden, sew and knit with her mother. With her friend, she once built a miniature house on the beach made of small twigs and pieces of bark. It was very lifelike, had a stone path, a well, weeds for trees and a vegetable garden surrounded by a rustic fence.
From her early teen years, she increasingly enjoyed drawing and painting. In her late teens, she was recruited to a modern dance troupe and performed at La Place des Arts de Montreal. She majored in painting at L’École des Beaux Arts, which became part of the University of Quebec in Montreal. Engraving, etching, philosophy, sculpture, live model study and colour technique were also part of Sylvie’s training. Her inks, oil paintings and batik work were exhibited at different venues and galleries, but she eventually oriented her work toward illustration.
As soon as she moved to Toronto, she started her freelance career, illustrating children’s educational books and working for advertising agencies. Kids Can Press gave Sylvie her first book to illustrate, Simon’s Surprise. Since then, twelve of her illustrated books have been published. She’s been living in Cabbagetown with her husband, Doug Panton, also an illustrator who is presently Chair at OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design). In the company of her cat Iris, Sylvie spends most days drawing or writing if not planting something in the garden.
2012 - Alberta Children’s Choice Rocky Mountain Book Award, Short-listed
2011 - Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Winner
2011 - Skipping Stones Honor Award, Skipping Stones Magazine, Winner
2011 - Best Children’s Books of the Year, Bank Street Children’s Book Committee, Winner
2010 - Best Bets Nonfiction, Ontario Library Association, Winner