Oona and the Shark by Kelly DiPucchio

Oona and the Shark by Kelly DiPucchio
Oona #2
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Children’s (0 – 6 y.o.), Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Oona loves to share her inventions with her friends. They’re big and bold and LOUD—just like her! But there’s one underwater creature who doesn’t seem to enjoy Oona’s company, or her creations.

Stanley the shark! He doesn’t care for her squeaky unicorn. And he’s far too busy for the Sea Horse Carousel. And oh GOODNESS! Oona’s latest hopping, chopping, and popping inventions just make him angry.

Oona may not know what Stanley likes, but she does know what he doesn’t. And maybe that’s a good place to start. Because mermaids never stop trying…not when there’s a friend out there to make.

There’s no such thing as having too many friends.

As I mentioned in my review of Oona, the first tale in this series that happens to share the same name with the protagonist, she was such a persistent and likeable girl. Oona made me smile every time I turned the page and saw what she’d decided to do next. She was the sort of character who could accomplish just about anything she set her mind to do!

I did find myself wishing that someone had reminded Oona to respect other people’s body language and boundaries. She ignored several clear examples of things someone will do and say when they’re uninterested but don’t feel comfortable clearly saying no to an offer. While there were reasons other than an overall disinterest in Oona’s friendship for this behavior in the shark’s case, I think it’s also important for kids and sweet little mermaids to learn how to gracefully accept when someone doesn’t want to play with them. I am saying this as someone who loved the storyline in general and would happily read it to the little ones in my life after explaining to them that it’s just as important to respect people’s boundaries as it is to find common interests with a potential new friend.

With that being said, the author did a wonderful job of showing how neurodivergence affects friendships. Shark’s precise diagnosis was never shared, so this could apply to all sorts of children. What mattered was that he was a little different from the other inhabitants of the ocean and that Oona needed to try something new in order to reach him. It was beautiful to see how much effort she put into understanding him and trying to find something they could enjoy doing together.

This is the second story in a series that does not have to be read in order. Definitely do check out Oona’s first adventure if you like it, though!

Oona and the Shark was a heartwarming summer read.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.