We read a digital review copy provided by the publisher.
Sam and Alex reviewed this book!
Katie O’Neill introduces young readers to comics (and axolotls) in her new book, Dewdrop! If you’re not familiar with Katie’s work, she also wrote and illustrated the Eisner Award winning The Tea Dragon Society and it’s follow up, The Tea Dragon Festival. While those books were great for older kids, Katie O’Neill sets her sights on younger readers in Dewdrop.
Dewdrop is a young axolotl who lives in her aquatic habitat with her friends who are all getting ready for a local sporting festival. Her friends are not just preparing to compete but also to cook for the masses and to compose a song for the opening ceremony. Dewdrop herself is preparing a cheerleading routine because the spunky little amphibian loves to help out and inspire others.
Over the course of the book Dewdrop’s friends begin to doubt themselves. Mia the turtle doesn’t think she can win the pebble throwing contest because she’s not big or strong enough. Newman doesn’t think he can write a great song. Her fish friends worry that they can’t cook something good enough for everyone. Dewdrop helps as best she can and reminds them that they just need to do their best and have fun. Only then can they really enjoy what it is they are doing.
The message will resonate with young readers as even children can find themselves caught up in the pressure of being the best. Dewdrop is a supportive friend and guide who helps her friends – and the reader – figure out what’s really important.
Dewdrop lends itself to some really great conversation material. When discussing Mia’s sporting aspirations, parents can point out that kids can focus on improving their own abilities without having to compare themselves to others. And when discussing Newman’s music and the cooking fish, parents can talk about how it’s important to let yourself create without worrying too much about what others think.
It also helps that Dewdrop, her message, and her friends all look absolutely adorable. She does a great job of mixing earth-tones (water-tones?) with bright colors to draw readers into Dewdrop’s aquatic world. It feels real even though there are a few head-scratching moments. For example, I’m not entirely sure how the smell of food (or the cooking of food for that matter) works underwater but Katie O’Neill somehow works it out. Honestly, Katie O’Neill’s adorable artwork is the biggest selling point for me when it comes to Dewdrop. I love her style and I loved The Tea Dragon Society. I loved having a new story to share with my daughter!
Dewdrop is great for young readers – especially those who are showing a budding interest in comics. The panel-styled pages will definitely help young readers as they move into more traditional graphic novels as they become more independent readers. It’s a good book especially for the higher end of the picture book age range. Younger kiddos may struggle to follow the story but they will undoubtedly love the illustrations.
This is another great Katie O’Neill book!
Alex thought this book was OKAY!
I don’t think Alex fully understands what type of animal every character was but she liked ‘the pink one’ and especially Mia the turtle (or “the strong one!” as Alex called her). Mia’s story was the most compelling for Alex and it was also the easiest for her to follow on her own. Mia’s concerns about not being strong enough were the main focus Alex’s attention and she was very happy for Mia by the end. She also thought Dewdrop was a good friend. This is definitely a book that we’ll want to revisit when Alex is older!
Author: Katie O’Neill
Release Date: April 15, 2020
Publisher: Oni Press
Review Spoilers: High
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