Under the Water: Tales from the Hidden Valley

Nobrow/Flying Eye Books/. (Tales from the Hidden Valley: Bk. 4). Jun. 2019. 48p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781911171683.
K-Gr 2–In a hidden valley near a lake, the inhabitants “whispered fanciful tales into the warm night air and slept under the stars” on the eve of the Dragon Day celebration. It is also the time of year when Aqua, a youthful looking mermaidlike creature, has a habit of taking things to make sure they last as long as she has: a book from one, some fossils from another, and fireworks from someone else. When newcomer Max befriends Aqua, she takes him to her secretive, underground home where their friendship is cemented. When they discover their missing treasures, other valley residents find Aqua and accuse her of thieving. Furious, Aqua storms off into the lake, followed by a contrite cadre in a conveniently found submarine named Olivier. When swallowed by the newly awakened dragon, not only are Olivier’s riders saved but so is the Dragon Day celebration. And Aqua, at least for this summer, is no longer lonely. The tale’s elongated, deeply hued, expressive illustrations suggest characters that fuse human and animal (or plant) traits much like in the artist’s earlier “Hidden Valley” books.
VERDICT Though not an essential purchase for libraries, this may appeal to communities where translated books are appreciated.

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