Katie O’Neill, author and illustrator of The Tea Dragon Society and Aquicorn Cove, has created a new graphic novel for younger readers entitled Dewdrop. Taking place in a bright underwater world, Dewdrop is an energetic axolotl (which is a real animal in the amphibian family) who encourages her aquatic friends with her positive personality. And with O’Neill’s artwork and storytelling, you can’t help but fall in love with her.

All the creatures in the sea are very excited about the upcoming sports festival. Dewdrop and her friends are taking part in the festivities. Mia the turtle is practicing her weightlifting, Newman the newt is writing a brand-new song, the minnows are preparing a tasty meal, and Dewdrop is practicing her cheer moves. As each character prepares for fun, they each find themselves in a snag. Their self-confidence starts to dwindle, except for Dewdrop. When she sees her friends down in the dumps, she lifts their spirits in her own spunky way, reminding them to have fun doing what they love and not to worry about what other people say.

O’Neill has created a happy little character that young readers will want to befriend. With her large bright eyes and small sprite body, she represents that one good friend who brings out the best in you. Just like the real animal, her pink skin with rosy cheeks makes it easy to spot her out in a crowd. The rest of the cast of characters are small and cute, as well, with the same wide eyes and bright color scheme. O’Neill uses a drawing style similar to Japanese manga, using over excited expressions in numerous scenes. Her panels change size depending upon the scene in the story, whether it’s a whole page of cheering animals or a small singular panel of just a character’s facial expression. The story itself reminds readers of the importance of being yourself and having faithful friends by your side. Sometimes all you need is a little pep to keep you going.

Dewdrop will bring a smile to any reader’s face. With its short story and easy to follow panels, this graphic novel is a great choice for readers in 2nd-3rd grade. It’s a great addition to any public or school library collection and will certainly pique the interest of readers who enjoy O’Neill’s other work.

By Katie O’Neill
ISBN: 9781620106891
Oni Press, 2020

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NFNT Age Recommendation: Easy Readers (5-9)

  • Gloria

    | She/Her Children's Librarian, Elmont Memorial Library

    Gloria is a full-time children’s librarian at the Elmont Memorial Library in Long Island, New York where she runs a monthly STEAM program, a graphic novel book club, and storytime for preschoolers. During her free time, she is found reading anything and everything from the classics, to poetry, to the newest best seller. Her other interests include writing, online games, exploring new areas in her home state, and spending time with friends, family, and colleagues. She has also written articles and reviews for the website Cosplay, Comics, and Geek Culture in Libraries and on her personal Goodreads page.

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