cover image Catching a Storyfish

Catching a Storyfish

Janice H. Harrington. Wordsong, $17.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-62979-429-7

In this affecting novel in verse, Keet has always had a lot to say, but since moving from Alabama to Illinois, her voice feels stifled. With a conspicuous accent and no friends, Keet finds happiness in her weekend fishing trips with her grandfather. In the poem “Why?,” Keet questions the motivation for her family’s relocation: “Better job,/ better pay,/ better school,/ away, away./ For Grandpa’s sake. He’s all alone./ For all the reasons parents drone,/ for all the reasons parents say,/ for bigger dreams, for better dreams,/ we moved away.” Keet feels even more adrift after Grandpa has a stroke and retreats into depression. With the help of a new friend and her own passion for storytelling, Keet reconnects with her grandfather and finds her voice. Harrington (Busy-Busy Little Chick) makes thoughtful use of several types of poetry to tell Keet’s story, including blues, catalog, concrete, narrative, contrapuntal, and prose poems (all discussed in a glossary). The poetry forms are well-chosen, their diverse rhythms and formats sensitively reflecting the fluctuating emotions of Keet’s narration. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Stephen Fraser, Jennifer De Chiara Literary. (Sept.) [/em]