Goodreads: Aquicorn Cove
When Lana and her father return to their hometown to help clean up after a storm, Lana discovers an injured aquicorn on the beach. It seems the people of her hometown have stopped following the ways of their ancestors–and now the village may be hurting the environment. Can Lana find a way to convince the village to save the aquicorns?
Katie O’Neill’s original fantasy introduces readers to a world where magic always lurks just around the corner. Drawn in pastels and narrating the story at an unhurried pace, the book invites readers to slow down and reflect. It contains an obvious message about caring for the environment, but also raises questions about personal responsibility, the value of tradition, and the lost art of being satisfied with just enough. In many ways, it is reminiscent of a Miyazaki film, following a young girl’s journey of self-discovery as related to the local and the everyday.
O’Neill’s book feels like a truly immersive experience, perhaps in part because, despite being fantasy, it feels very much like something that could really happen. It invites readers to enter into the pain of the villagers who have lost so much due to the storms, to feel the desperation of the sea creatures whose home is being destroyed, to ask themselves what they would be willing to give up to help another. Both the village and the sea have sympathetic claims. The village wants to maintain its new wealth, gained by overfishing. But their actions are affecting the lives of others. Is it truly possible to convince an entire village to set the clock back and return to the ways of their grandmothers, just so an underwater city can continue to exist? The cynic in me thinks this could never happen, but O’Neill’s vision of a caring world makes me want to believe.
Aquicorn Cove is a beautiful story about the power of one person to make a difference and the ability of people to change. No one here is presented as the villain; everyone is just seeking the best for themselves and their families. And it is that attitude that seems to allow dialogue to happen. Aquicorn Cove suggests that dialogue can change the real world, too–and that makes it a wonderful beacon of hope in an all-too-dark world.