Oona by Kelly DiPucchio

Oona by Kelly DiPucchio
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Children’s (0 – 6 y.o.), Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Oona and her best friend Otto love to search for treasure…and often find trouble instead.

Messy trouble.

Tricky trouble.

Even shark-related trouble.

That’s never stopped them before, though!

After all, no proper treasure hunt is without some adventure. But when the grandest treasure yet is stuck in a deep, dark rift, Oona’s not sure if she can dive right in. What might be waiting for her in those unknown waters?

Who wouldn’t want to explore the secret corners of the ocean?

Oona was a brave and persistent little mermaid. I loved the fact that she was so determined to complete her collection, if only for now, and to gather up everything she thought a mermaid needed to be happy. She knew exactly what she wanted out of life even if she wasn’t always sure how to get it. That made her the sort of character I like to get to know better.

I would have liked to see more attention paid to developing the plot. For example, it was never clear to me why Oona wanted to collect so much treasure or what she planned to do with it if she found it. When the storyline did move forward, I was also confused by how slowly certain details were released and why they were sometimes interrupted by other information that seemed unrelated to her quest. Was that supposed to be a hint about how differently mermaids think when compared to land dwellers, or was I misinterpreting it? These were only two of the questions I had about this world that were never answered. I wish they had been because what the narrator did share was fascinating.

Some of the best scenes were the ones that showed what happened after Oona had already tried a few times to reach her goals without success. Failure can be hard for adults to accept, and it’s even harder for little ones who don’t have as much experience with disappointment and frustration yet. The messages this picture book sent about how to cope with those feelings and what to do if one feels like they’ll never reach their goals was perfectly phrased.

Oona made me smile.

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