This book is the sequel to The Tea Dragon Society, but it’s more of a prequel. It follows a younger Hesekiel and Erik as they visit Erik’s home in the mountains to find a bounty they are looking for. Once in the village, Erik finds his family, including his cousin, Rinn. Rinn is a wonderful person who loves their village and wants to help out by gathering supplies in the forest. On one of Rinn’s gathering journey’s, they run into a dragon in human form sleeping. After waking him up, Rinn finds out his name is Aedhan and he’s been asleep for eighty years. Rinn brings Aedhan to the village where he begins helping out villagers as their guardian. Near the end of the story, a Festival begins, and the people mix magical tea dragon tea leaves into their food for Aedhan, so he can experience everything he has missed over the eighty years he’s been gone.
I would highly recommend this book for anyone to read, not just children. This is another of Katie O’Neill’s finest work. She not only keeps the LGBT+ themes from the previous book, but introduces new elements as well. Though it’s not abundantly clear, Rinn uses they/them pronouns. There was also the element of American Sign Language. One of the villagers was deaf, so everyone in the village learned sign language to be able to talk to her. All of these elements introduce children to parts of world they may not have otherwise known. It lets them know that it’s okay to be different, and to also help those that are different. The story itself is magical and beautifully illustrated, so the other messages are just a bonus. It is truly one of my favorite books.