The Tea Dragon Society

Katie O’Neill. Oni, $17.99 (72p) ISBN 978-1-62010-441-5
Old crafts are falling by the wayside in the enchanting fantasy world of O’Neill’s second graphic novel, following Princess Princess Ever After. Part goblin, part human, Greta, a girl with brown skin and squat horns, is learning her mother’s trade of blacksmithing, even though swords aren’t used for much anymore. After rescuing a tiny tea dragon that has gotten lost at the market, Greta starts learning how to care for these creatures, whose horns sprout leaves that are harvested for tea. O’Neill sets her story over four chapters, one for each season, gradually expanding Greta’s world and her understanding of it. Colored in a palette of warm greens, pinks, oranges, and blues, her delicately drawn panels hum with a subtle romantic energy, particularly when Greta learns the backstory between the two remaining members of the Tea Dragon Society, a goatlike creature named Hesekiel and his strapping, wheelchair-using partner, Erik. (There’s also a whiff of burgeoning romance between Greta and Minette, a girl with unreliable memories who is also learning to care for the dragons.) A quiet, charming story of nurturing friendships and traditions. Ages 9–12. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/11/2017
Release date: 10/01/2017
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