Aquicorn Cove by Katie O’Neill
I will read anything by O’Neill. I love her queer fantasy stories aimed at children. I may not be the audience, but they are incredibly enjoyable.
O’Neill’s art is gorgeous. Everything is kid-appropriate, and this story is perfectly shown through the eyes of Lana, a small child being raised by her single father.
The underlying theme in the entire book is the environment. Everything that happens is due to our current climate emergency. The bad storms ripping through like never before, the trash harming the aquicorns and other sea creatures, and then the plastic nets that cause over-harvesting of fish and unintentionally injure wildlife.
But this is where the book weakens. The emotionality of Lana’s loss of her mother and her Aunt Mae’s feelings for Aure was beautiful but broken up a bit by theme imposition. Adding more significant themes to your story is a hard balance, and they just slightly don’t blend together. But maybe it’s more explicit on purpose for the audience’s age.
I wanted to spend more time seeing Lana and Mae together. Their relationship was something special, especially Mae teaching her about island culture and how to survive as part of the ecosystem.
The little aquicorn was just the cutest. And a sweet way to show how a human could be helpful to the other creatures in times of need. I also wanted to know more about this underwater world that Aure’s seemingly in charge of.
This book is one I’d highly recommend to anyone with kids. It’s appropriate for all ages, and a good one for young readers learning to read. Plus, it’s incredibly inclusive. I cannot wait for O’Neill’s next book.