CBR11bingo – Science!
Lana and her father used to live by the sea with her mother and Aunt Mae. But when Lana’s mother died, her father couldn’t bear to be near the place she loved most, so they moved into the city. After some time grieving, he brings Lana to visit Mae and the little fishing village they used to inhabit. Lana is ecstatic to be back, even though the nature of their visit is also a big somber: they are helping the town recover from a recent storm. During the clean-up, Lana discovers an odd little creature, like a seahorse, but also a unicorn, in one of the tidal pools. It is injured, but Mae helps her create a suitable habitat to oversee its recovery. Shortly after, on a visit to the shore, Lana meets the grown version of these creatures – aquicorns – and when she assure the creature that she has its little one and is helping it heal, the aquicorn brings her some treasures from the sea – seemingly lost trinkets from the village. One is a necklace with a shell amulet that Mae is shocked to see returned. Upon receiving the necklace, she shares with Lana about how she discovered the world of the aquicorns, and why she hasn’t since returned.
O’Neill is the artist behind the lush and whimsical Tea Dragon Society, and her artwork and themes are very similar here. We have another diverse cast of characters, adorable mythical creatures, and pastel-infused artwork. But in this book, O’Neill is using the fantastical creatures of the aquicorns to teach an ecological lesson on the dangers that coral reefs face. The aquicorn habitat its a reef and O’Neill’s colors and style are perfect to create the majesty of a reef in full glory. In this story, overfishing and plastic nets are reeking havoc on the habitat, and O’Neill takes time in an epilogue to inform the reader of how this is happening in our own coral reefs internationally.
It’s a cute way to introduce children to ecology in a unique and sweet story.