Book Review: Tea Dragon Series Book 1 & 2 by Kay O'Neill


The Tea Dragon Society and The Tea Dragon Festival by Kay O'Neill

Tea Dragon Series Books 1 & 2

Genre: Graphic Novels, Fantasy, Middle Grade, LGBT+

4.5 Stars


We are celebrating graphic novels at The Writers Workout this month while also celebrating Pride month across the globe.


The seasons are changing in different regions of the world, turning Nature even more beautiful than ever. There could be many books that suit all these themes. However, I picked two delightful and heartwarming books suitable for most age groups.


I came across the book The Tea Dragon Society earlier this year. It wasn’t until recently that I noticed the series is growing. I couldn’t get the latest book yet but did manage to access books 1 and 2.


The Tea Dragon Society

This is the first book of the series and is just 72 pages long. The story is spread over a year, starting with spring and ending with winter. We see Greta, a young blacksmith apprentice, practicing under her mother’s watchful eye.


One day, she saves a tea dragon in the marketplace and takes it back to its owner, Hesekiel, who runs a tea shop outside the town. Hesekiel is pleased to get back his tea dragon, Jasmine. Upon observing that the little dragon is fond of Greta, Hesekiel tells her she can visit anytime to learn how to care for these cuties.


And here starts Greta’s adventure with tea dragons as she learns how to care for them, pluck their leaves, and brew the special tea. She bonds with Hesekiel and Erik (Hesekiel’s partner), and Minette.


Minette is a young, shy girl who is wary of most people around her. She has Chamomile, a tea dragon, to keep her company. She visits the tea shop from time to time for food and warmth.


The book has diverse characters from the real and fantasy world. The illustrations are so, so beautiful, I could stare at them all day!


The Tea Dragon Festival

Usually, the second book in the series would be a continuation of the first one. Here, it’s the reverse. We’ve seen only a glimpse of Hesekiel and Erik’s past in book 1.


Book 2 shows us a little more about them while introducing new characters. Rinn is Erik’s niece, who lives in a tiny mountain village with her parents and Maman (grandmother). She wants to learn cooking and does her bit to help her granny.


She is much loved by the villagers who trust her to gather vegetables and mushrooms for their food. The villagers are vegetarians and survive on mushrooms, roots, and leaves. Rinn’s gathering adventure leads her to a dragon, Aedhan, who has been sleeping for 80 years. Aedhan feels sad to realize that he lost 80 precious years to sleep when he’s supposed to be guarding the village folk.


The arrival of Erik and Hesekiel gives Rinn a good opportunity to introduce Aedhan to her family and then to the villagers. The story progresses to show how Aedhan becomes a part of the village and how Rinn helps him learn what happened during the time he was asleep. This book also includes diverse characters and shows how life in a small mountain village can be so peaceful.


Diversity and Inclusion

Both the books include characters from different communities. I did hope to find a representation from mine but couldn’t. Hopefully, the author will consider including more communities in her future books (I don’t know if she already did that in book 3). We also see characters with disabilities (Erik in book 1 and Lesa in book 2). It’s heartwarming to have a seamless portrayal of such an array of characters.


Memories and Tea Dragons

Do you know what makes the leaves/ flowers harvested from tea dragons so special? Tea dragons are very attached to one person and store memories with them. When we brew a couple of leaves and drink the tea, we can feel those memories enveloping us. Isn't that a wonderful way to know someone?


Importance of Nature

Both books have nature as an inherent part of the stories. Book 2 is entirely nestled in Nature’s lap. The books highlight minimalistic living and simplicity while showing why we need to be close to our creator (Nature).


Life Lessons

Book 1 shows how Greta helps Minette regain her confidence, learns a little about Hesekiel and Erik’s past, and realizes the importance of learning the practices from the past and continuing them.


The world may advance, but that doesn’t mean we ignore the importance of a blacksmith. or a tea brewer, or a skilled worker. The book shows these two skills specifically, but we should give the same value to other essential life skills as well. Knowing how to work with our hands is a soul-satisfying and wonderful feeling. And watching the happiness on others’ faces when we gift them something made with our effort is just priceless.


In book 2:

“Just because something comes easily to you does not mean it has no value. You find it effortless because you love it, and that is why it is your gift.”


Aedhan says this to Rinn when she dismisses her skills as nothing. Rinn loves to search the woods for edible roots and leaves (let’s not forget mushrooms). She loves to help the villagers by picking vegetables from the earth. Aedhan helps Rinn realize what she loves more and how it makes her special.


To Sum Up

The Tea Dragon Series is a must-read for both the young and old because it allows the reader to let go of their tension and breathe in the fresh air. The illustrations are top class. I’m sure you’ll have a huge smile on your face by the time you come to the last page of the book.

 

About the Author: Srivalli Rekha is a blogger, writer, and amateur photographer. She got a degree in MBA and MA English Literature and chose to become a writer and a poet instead of a corporate professional.

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