GRAPHIC NOVELS

The Tea Dragon Tapestry

Oni. Sept. 2020. 128p. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9781620107744.
COPY ISBN
Gr 3-6–Greta, a dark-skinned girl, has the opportunity to hone her blacksmithing skills with renowned but uninspired bull Kleitos, but she must choose which one of her creations to share with him to prove her worth. Meanwhile, Greta tries to help her tea dragon Ginseng, who’s mourning the death of their previous owner. In addition, Minette, who is beige-skinned and Greta’s close companion, struggles with identity and a sense of loss after receiving a tapestry that reminds her of what she has given up from her days as a prophetess. This third and final installment of the trilogy takes place after the events of the first book, The Tea Dragon Society, and focuses again on Greta and Minette, who were featured in that tale. Also returning are Aedhan and Rinn from The Tea Dragon Festival, and Erik and Hesekiel, who have been in all three. Through six chapters that investigate self-discovery, healing, and purpose, and an epilogue to wrap things up, O’Neill relies upon her signature lineless, floral art style. Billowy blocks of warm gold and fiery oranges often contrast against soothingly cool purple-y blues, with olive green, coral, and peach, rounding out the tender palette. The setting is splendid, but the relationships take center stage. The story is inclusive, depicting diverse and queer characters. An illustrated history of tea dragons can be found in the back matter.
VERDICT As comforting and emotive as the autumnal palette, this work tugs at the heartstrings as it champions love and inspires finding home in those you most care about.

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