I am on the fence about Katie O’Neill. I have not disliked anything I have read, but I am also not “OMG MY FAVORITE EVER” author. There is a certain charm that O’Neill has that comes across in what I have read. Even when there is “scary adventure” it is still comforting. She seems like she might be your favorite aunt. Or that fun neighbor that becomes like an aunt/grandmother to you. And that charm is continued in their picture book, Dewdrop.
This is just a cute story about doing your best and trying. Maybe you are not as strong as someone else or another person will like what you cook, but if you do what you can and are happy, that is the best win possible. We see this as Dewdrop does her best and is a great friend who is always ready with a kind word for their friends and who is willing to help when she can. There is mostly a surface story and not the a deeper meaning story as with her other books. I must admit that I love how natural O’Neill makes same sex relationships or in the case of a dragon and human a different race relationship, but I was also glad not to see that in this book. Due to the age (mostly ages 4 to 7), I liked the one theme and not multiple layers. Of course, their afterwards shows the four main characters in an educational format by giving some information about them (one character is a newt, several minnows and so forth) and there is also an environmental message as well so O’Neill is keeping with their passion for environmental conservation. But, again, it is not the main focus of the story.
And due to the lack of serious amount of text, I found myself floating along the illustrations. And this time, O’Neill’s illustrations really hit me. There is something about them that is both realistic and fantastical. There is something about them that is cozy and calm but also bold and in your face. The colors are rich, deep and bright. There is nice art to go with a familiar story, but with slightly different creatures than we are used to. I loved the newt with the “cowboy hat fringe” and even the colors of brown minnows.
O’Neill is not for everyone, but everyone can find something to like about Dewdrop.