I cannot fully express how excited I was to get approved on NetGalley for this title, there may have been some squealing, just saying. The Tea Dragon Festival was definitely one of my most anticipated releases of the year and has fully cemented the fact that I will probably buy anything Katie O’Neill writes in the future.
This story is a prequel to The Tea Dragon Society and you do meet some characters in this story that are in that one as well, which was a great surprise. It really feels like O’Neill is building a world for these stories and I desperately hope there will be many more installments featuring tea dragons and these characters.
I love how seamlessly she works diversity and inclusiveness into her stories, it isn’t there as any kind of novelty or anything, it’s there because these things are part of everday life and part of people’s worlds. This book specifically features a non-binary character and also highlights the use of sign language. Along with that it featured information at the beginning and end for resources regarding sign language, which I thought was a great way to provide information for anyone who is curious after reading.
I will also forever love O’Neill’s art style, she has the perfect balance of simplicity and detail and the color are so vivid that the scenes easily come to life. These stories are whimsical and full of fantasy, but still grounded and full of important messages.
The Tea Dragon Festival is coming out on September 17th from Oni Press, make sure that you check it out and also check out The Tea Dragon Society while you’re at it!