Review of Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharks

brown_slickety quickSlickety Quick: Poems About Sharks
by Skila Brown; illus. by Bob Kolar
Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.
3/16    978-0-7636-6543-2    $16.99

Brown begins this playful and illuminating collection by taking a bite out of the most infamous of these ocean predators, the great white shark: “you’re no bully, / just a big attention hog. So / move over. Let another shark / swim to the beat.” And thirteen other sharks do, each one featured on its own double-page spread, giving the subjects plenty of room. Verses almost as varied as the sharks themselves introduce such species as the wobbegong, goblin shark, and frilled shark: “Lean and / long, teeth / needle- / strong, / with foggy, / empty / eyes.” Creative type placement and size emphasize physical attributes, behavior, and/or temperament. Reflecting the poems’ different moods, Kolar’s dynamic digital illustrations in blues, greens, and browns immerse readers in the underwater habitat. Brief factual asides in smaller type enhance the profiles, sometimes dramatically so. 
The whimsical-looking spiral-shaped poem for the cookie-cutter shark, for example, takes on a more threatening tenor after you learn that “they bite their prey…then spin around, removing a hunk of flesh and leaving a cookie-shaped hole in their victim.” Though lacking documentation, this book 
offers an accessible and engaging appreciation of these fascinating creatures. Pair with Nicola Davies’s Surprising Sharks (rev. 1/04)…though maybe not at the beach.

From the May/June 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.
Kitty Flynn
Kitty Flynn is consulting editor for The Horn Book, Inc.

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