Gaston author Kelly DiPucchio and The More the Merrier illustrator Raissa Figueroa dive into the delightful world of Oona, a spirited little mermaid who's "sweet... and a little bit salty." With a penchant for winding up in precarious predicaments, brown-skinned and stripe-tailed Oona and her best friend Otto, a sea otter, spend their days searching for treasures, often discovering the ocean's many hazards instead.
Oona was an imp from birth, when she pursued a pearl right into the mouth of a whale. Now, she always gets the prizes she's hunting--"keys and coins and buttons and bottles. And sometimes... lost glasses"--no matter the danger. Except, that is, for the extra special treasure: the sparkly crown. This is the bounty that eludes Oona because "the crown [is] stuck deep in the rift, and not a pole, or a pail, or the sticky stick of a snail [can] get it unstuck." Oona and Otto's efforts to procure the crown take them face to face with sharks, squids and crabs, all strikingly depicted in Figueroa's charming digital illustrations. The brilliant colors, rich textures and heartwarming playfulness of the art will likely entice young readers to join Oona in her mischief and cheer her on to victory.
DiPucchio offers a final reward in the form of themes of determination, bravery and ingenuity. Her spunky little protagonist and adorable sidekick are a perfect delivery team for valuable lessons cleverly wrapped in a whimsical picture book. It's a sweet, amusing story that will make the perfect addition to any pile of storytime favorites. --Jen Forbus, freelancer