FICTION

Catching a Storyfish

224p. Wordsong. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781629794297.
COPY ISBN
RedReviewStarGr 4–7—Keet, a girl from Alabama, loves language and storytelling, but her family's move to Illinois makes her feel silenced. Comfort comes through a budding friendship with Allegra, her Latina classmate and neighbor, and through fishing with her beloved grandfather. "To catch a fish," he tells her, "You've got to sit quiet and hold still/You've got to listen, really listen/with your inside ears." Like Nikki Grimes does in Words with Wings, Harrington perfectly captures her character's growth by using all the tools poetry provides: artfully chosen words, thought-provoking metaphors, appropriate rhythm and pacing, and changing points of view. Some poems give voice to other characters. Harrington also includes various poetic forms and a postscript offering additional information about each of them: an unusual addition for a title of this format. There is very little to identify the social or racial context of Keet's family, but close reading reveals Keet as brown skinned with "flippy-floppy braids."
VERDICT Keet's is a simple and familiar-feeling story, but one that is understated, fully realized, deftly written, and utterly absorbing.

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