The Book of Selkie: A Paper Doll Book

By Briana Corr Scott

Nimbus Publishing – June 2020

This is beautifully illustrated, lyrical book explores the mythical world of a selkie. I haven’t seen a paper doll book for years, so it was wonderful to see this concept being used again. I remember having a couple of paper doll books as a child and being totally engrossed playing with them.

Stories about the selkie have been told for hundreds of years by those who live near the North Atlantic and North Sea. Sometimes called “seal folk,” the selkie, as humans, are tall and strong with dark hair and eyes. Extremely private, they keep their seal coats hidden away until they get restless and are called to the sea, and take on their seal forms.

I was not familiar with the legend of the selkie prior to reading this book, however there is a double page spread near the end of the book explaining a little background to the forklore. Children are enchanted by mermaids and I am sure they would find the selkie equally as captivating.

The Selkie legend is explored in a series of short rhyming poems which when reading the book from start to finish, flow beautifully together revealling what Selkie likes to eat, where she lives, how she spends her time on land and in the sea. Each can be also be enjoyed as a stand alone poem.

This is not a typical rhyming book aimed at younger children as the vocabulary is pitched for older children. My 7 year old son was able to confidently read the book aloud to me, although I feel possibly Lower Key Stage 2 pupils onwards would fully appreciate the meaning. However, both my son and my daughter (5 years old) were drawn to the beautiful illustrations – particularly the one depicting the selkie’s little thatched house and washing line with it’s underground cave entrance.

The acrylic illustrations in the book are simply exquisite. Hues of emerald and aqua contrast wonderfully with the selkie’s striking auburn hair and the delicate lace of the selkie’s dress.

The Book of Selkie would be a magical way of teaching a traditional legend and sharing some of the heritage of the British Isles.

To further explore the world of Selkies, visit https://brianacorrscott.com/selkie

Thank you to NetGalley and Nimbus publishing for providing me with a digital ARC copy in exchange for my review.

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