Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Skila Brown's _Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharks_

The Plot: Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharks written by Skila Brown and illustrated by Bob Kolar is a picture book that contains 14 spreads, each dedicated to a poem and informational blurb about a different shark. Brown's picture book is not a verse narrative, as it doesn't contain any sort of plot; instead the thread that links each poem is simply the fact that they all address sharks. It may fall into the informational books category (because of its inclusion of informational blurbs), but it does not include a bibliography of sources or peritextual matter that would lead to further resources.

The Poetry: Slickety Quick includes 14 short poems that employ a variety of poetic techniques and forms. In terms of poetic devices, Brown uses rhyme and repetition pretty consistently throughout the collection. The form that Slickety Quick uses most frequently is the concrete poem; for example, the poems, "Great White Shark," "Frilled Shark," "Cookie-Cutter Shark," "Nurse Shark," "Megamouth Shark," and "Whale Shark" all use the space on the page and the visual arrangement of the words of the poem to evoke the shape of a sharks body or mouth. The poem "Hammerhead Shark (a poem for two voices" is a contrapuntal poem, as its title suggests.

The Page: Kolar uses an interesting illustration style: each spread includes an image of the shark described, as well as a background made up of layers of monochromatic shapes depicting the ocean floor and landscape. This technique gives the reader a blurred effect and a feeling of viewing each illustration through goggles or a swim mask.

I found Slickety Quick an interesting approach, but none of the poems really stuck with me. I also found the informational blurbs to be a missed opportunity to expand the purview of the picture book as an information/educative text. I give it three stars.