Lisa Doucet Reviews an Impressive Package of Selkie Lore

Each page captures a different sense of the sea

The Book of Selkie
Briana Corr Scott
Nimbus Publishing

In her latest picture book, Briana Corr Scott explores the myths and legends surrounding the Selkie, shapeshifting beings of the sea who are able to change from seal to human form. In playful poems, she describes the life of a Selkie, on land as well as in the sea.

She examines a Selkie’s home, what they eat and how they spend their days, savouring the wonders of whichever world they happen to find themselves in. Whether in human form or in her seal skin, the Selkie soon will feel that irresistible urge to transform into her other self and revisit her other home.

As in her previous book, She Dreams of Sable Island, Corr Scott has crafted a beautiful celebration of the sea and nature’s mysteries.  The illustrations possess a luminous quality that befits the otherworldly sensibility of this story and effectively capture the moodiness and mysteriousness of the Selkie’s ocean home.

From variegated shades of blue and green to pearly greys, each page captures a different sense of the sea in terms of colour, motion and energy. The characters (girl and seal) are vividly depicted with expressive faces and gestures.

Corr Scott’s poetry rolls off the tongue with a rhythmic cadence that is a delight to read aloud.  There is an easy lilt to each verse:

They share food from the sea/And finish their meal with lavender tea.

Words and images work together to create a haunting, mysterious, exquisite and playful account of these folkloric creatures. The book concludes with some information about “The Legend of Selkie,” a Selkie blessing and a specially made paper doll, making it an impressive package.

Written By

Lisa Doucet is the co-manager of Woozles Children’s Bookstore in Halifax. She shares her passion for children’s and young adult books as our young readers editor and book reviewer.

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