The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill

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You know those books that just seem to wrap their arms around you in a warm, soul-enriching embrace? That is what Katie O’Neill’s “The Tea Dragon Festival” did for me. Set in a gentle, loving world where dragons are protective of humans and everyone looks out for everyone else in more ways than one, The Tea Dragon Festival is a treat for wearied minds.

Who can resist being utterly charmed by these little creatures called Tea Dragons who sprout different kinds of tea leaves? Or a dragon named Aedhan that has just woken up from an 80-year nap that he was put into unwittingly?

Such utterly cute tea dragons!

But if you look beyond the magnetic pull of the cute factor, there is the strong spirit of goodness that runs through the story. Aedhan is remorseful that he has slept away 80 years and has not protected the village as he should have. To remedy it, he accompanies Rinn back to her home, helps her out, and watches over the village. Then there is Rinn herself who looks out for her mute friend, foraging her favourite herbs and vegetables, giving Aedhan a home, and looking after the Tea Dragons. There is the picture of a well-meaning, close-knit community where the villagers are there for each other.

Being there for each other

I loved this envisioning of a beautiful world filled with magic and charm and all things nice where nobody can do any harm. Even the creature that puts Aedhan to sleep “never meant to make people sad.”

Words to live by

I adored O’Neill’s rich illustrations that makes the story more enchanting to read. It reminded me of some of the Ghibli animations that deftly intersperse the parallel worlds of magic and reality. Or perhaps they are all on the same plane and we are just too jaded to see it.

Rating: 5/5

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy for review!

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