FICTION
Selkie
Starfish Bay. Mar. 2019. 40p. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781760360542.
COPY ISBN
Gr 1-3–A wordless tale of the mythological creature from Scottish folklore, a selkie. A young fisherman in a green sweater accidentally nets a seal while reeling in a catch. While the seal swims away to escape capture, the fisherman is pulled overboard. Alternating panels and full spreads show the fisherman and seal sink further into the depths of the sea. On one spread, a scary event turns into a serene sort of dance between the green sweatered fisherman and the seal, swimming and turning together down off the page on one side and emerging up off the next with the fisherman now transformed into a selkie or seal form. The next spread show the two in a tender embrace with bodies overlapping. Long vertical panels then show the two slowing swimming up from the depths as the selkie turns back into human form the closer they get to the surface. The boat is spotted. There is a moment shared between seal and fisherman gazing at each other beneath the boat—what will they decide? The seal helps the fisherman back to the boat into the arms of his worried comrades. But the two are clearly changed from their brief encounter as the last spread shows the seal watching as the boat fades off on the horizon and the silhouette of the fisherman watching from the boat.
VERDICT Gorgeous and lovingly illustrated from cover to cover, this is a short but wholly effective and emotional tale, and is a worthy addition to wordless picture book or folktale collections

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