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Nurturing friendships and traditions

Cover of The Tea Dragon Society
A review of The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill

A young blacksmith's apprentice named Greta discovers a lost tea dragon at the market and uncovers the forgotten world of the Tea Dragon Society. The book follows a year of seasons starting with spring and the developing friendships between Greta, the tea dragon masters, Hesekiel and Erik, and a mysterious and shy girl named Minette.

Let me start with this: tea dragons are absolutely darling. Each dragon has properties that are utilized in creating custom tea. The chamomile tea dragon is cute, cute, cute. He reminds me of Eevee from Pokémon. The other characters are multicultural and have manga-esque appearances including pink hair, antlers, and the body of a llama-man. Greta looks like a human girl with small pink horns. The horns may be part of her goblin blood heritage as her mother has them, too. The goblin blood is said to help with handling hot metals, aiding in the blacksmithing, a calling that has been passed down through Greta's family for generations. 

Greta learns that tea dragons require a lot of care and attention. Tending to tea dragons has become somewhat of a lost art. A parallel is drawn between the tea dragon masters and the blacksmiths and the recognition of time needed to create and develop artisan goods.

This is a gorgeous book and an enchanting story of friendship, kindness and caretaking of beings and things. The library edition of the book includes charming bonus material with illustrations of various dragon breeds described as "Extracts from The Tea Dragon Handbook."

Recent awards and recognition for The Tea Dragon Society include:

2018 Eisner Award Finalist
ALA Rainbow List (2018)
2018 Dwayne McDuffie Award for Kids Comics Nominee
Amazon.com's Best Comics & Graphic Novels (2017)
School Library Journal's Top 10 Graphic Novels (2017)

Katie O'Neill's follow-up Aquicorn Cove is about small magical seahorse-like creatures with horns adorably called Aquicorns.

August 21, 2018