TITLE: The Tea Dragon Society
AUTHOR: Katie O’Neill
GENRE: Children’s Fiction, Comics & Graphic Novels, Fantasy
PUBLISHED BY: Oni Press /Diamond Book Distributors
PUBLICATION DATE: 31st October 2017
PRICE: $17.99 (USD)
From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever After comes The Tea Dragon Society, a charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons. After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives–and eventually her own.
This beautifully written and illustrated manga-style fairytale is a delight of warm thoughtfulness.
The artwork is sublime, the characters all realistic and eminently likeable, and the tea dragons themselves are quite possibly the cutest creatures ever invented.
The legend of the Tea Dragons, and the story of the strong bond and shared memories they form with their guardians is enchanting; and the addition of Extracts from The Tea Dragon Handbook at the rear of the book was a welcome and intriguing discovery. The Tea Dragon Handbook includes an introduction to Tea Dragon care, information on the history of both Tea Dragons and The Tea Dragon Society, and individual fact-files on each species of Tea Dragon.
However something struck me as I was reading it for the third time that left me utterly insensed! I suddenly realized how inclusive the book was, no fanfares, no wordy blurbs, just honest inclusivity; which is just as it should be. I was angered, not by this book, but by all the ones that don’t get it right!
Gender stereotypes are ignored as Greta’s tall muscular mother is the town’s blacksmith, whilst her slighter framed father keeps shop; promoting and selling his wife’s creations alongside sundries such as tea.
Most relationships appear to be mixed race (or species!?) and same-sex couples are nothing of note.
Physical Disability and Mental Health feature as part of life rather than trotted out as yet another trope.
I utterly and wholeheartedly applaud this book for setting such a high standard that ALL books, graphic novel to weighty prose and everything in between, should aspire to.
Plus, I desperately wish for a tea dragon of my very own!
RATINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS:
I rate this beautifully written and illustrated tale 5 out of 5 magical stars.
I recommend The Tea Dragon Society to lovers of: wonderful tales with a mythological twist, beautifully illustrated graphic novels, diverse reads, dragons, and; of course; tea.
An illustrator and graphic novelist from New Zealand, Katie O’Neill mostly makes gentle fantasy stories for younger readers.
She is very interested in tea, creatures, things that grow, and the magic of everyday life.
I received a digital copy of The Tea Dragon Society, via NetGalley and free of charge, for the purpose of supplying an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
As always, thanks for stopping by!