Oona and the Shark

HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. Feb. 2022. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780063071421.
PreS-Gr 2–In this sequel to Oona, Oona is an enthusiastic mermaid who makes friends easily with other mermaids and sea animals, including otters, pelicans, seahorses, and hermit crabs. She gets along with everyone except introverted Stanley, a large gray hammerhead shark who enjoys playing quietly with his seashell collection and avoids loud, energetic Oona whenever possible. Although the Black, naturally curly-haired mermaid does her best to befriend the large creature, she is continually disappointed that her attempts only push him further away. Disappointed, she swims to the ocean floor, where the silence lets her reflect on the possible reasons for Stanley’s unfriendliness. Oona is an inveterate inventor, and she thoughtfully creates a machine that intrigues the standoffish shark until the two of them discover a blossoming friendship, based on calm and quiet companionship. Intriguing illustrations filled with underwater details, colors, and effects such as filtered sunlight reveal the flora and fauna of Oona’s ocean.
VERDICT In an SEL lesson for all ages, Oona learns that fun can be loud, filled with “hopping and chopping and popping,” but it can also be quiet camaraderie with individuals happily sharing time together.

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