Catching a Story Fish by Janice N. Harrington


51m1ft2a5alCatching a Story Fish by Janice N. Harrington, Wordsong, 2016, 9781629794297

Format:  hardcover

Rating  (1-5, 5 is a starred review): 5

Genre:  novel in verse

What did you like about the book?  The author uses the novel-in-verse form to beautifully tell the story of Keet and her family, who recently moved from Alabama to Illinois.  Keet misses her friends and cousins, but is glad to be living closer to her grandfather. The two become fishing partners and close companions.  Always a chatterbox and a storyteller, Keet stops talking when her new classmates make fun of her southern accent. But eventually, she makes a friend and begins to find her voice again. Occasionally, the perspective shifts from Keet to her next-door neighbor Allegra, allowing the reader to see Keet through someone else’s eyes.  As the story progresses, Keet and her family must cope with changes in her grandfather’s health.  Readers should easily identify with Keet throughout this moving story. As a bonus, a poetry glossary at the end of the book identifies a variety of poetry forms, and cites examples from the novel.

Anything you didn’t like about it? I liked everything about this book.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Read Alikes? Recommend to readers, and particularly budding writers, who enjoy Nikki Grimes and Sharon Creech’s novels in verse, as well as Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. The classroom scenes are reminiscent of Jubilee by Patricia Reilly Giff and Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. In addition, recommend to children who are coping with the illness of an aging relative. They should find solace here.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries, elementary and middle schools will want to have this book.

Where would you shelve it ?  Middle-grade fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Renée Wheeler, Leominster Public Library, Leominster, MA

Date of review: November 18, 2016

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