Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Genre: graphic novel – fantasy
What did you like about the book? Lana and her father moved away from their island village home following the death of Lana’s mother Melody. They return for the first time, to visit Lana’s Aunt Mae, and help the village clean up after a devastating coastal storm. After Lana finds an injured baby creature resembling a seahorse, her aunt tells her about the existence of an underwater sea colony of Aquicorns. Aunt Mae recounts her first encounter with the Aquicorns and subsequent visit to their coral reef home, where she meets their leader, a blue female human-like creature named Aure. Mae continues to share the story of her growing connection (and implied romance) with Aure while Lana is working to come to terms with the loss of her mother.
Mae learns from Aure that the fishing practices of her village are beginning to cause damage to the reef; as a result some fish are becoming scarce and the reef is not strong enough to protect the island from dangerous weather. While Mae argues with Aure that her small village won’t make a difference, Lana convinces the people of the island to change their ways before it’s too late.
This is a gentle story about grief and loss, which also carries strong messages about environmental issues and community activism. The illustrations are simultaneously pastel-toned and bright, crystal-clear and dreamily blurred.
Informative backmatter about reef conservation will appeal to readers looking to learn more – although it doesn’t include any websites or recommended reading.
Anything you didn’t like about it? no
To whom would you recommend this book? Upper elementary readers of graphic series like Amulet or Five Worlds as well as fans of environmental-themed fiction.
Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries
Where would you shelve it? graphic novels
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? no
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Leigh King, Lincoln St. Elementary School, Northborough, Mass.
Date of review: 5/12/2020