“Seacity Rising” is a sweet, middle grade novel that follows a group of four aquatic animals on a quest to save their pond from a prophecy that promises doom in the near future. Babak is the only frog left in Seacity, and as such, he is the first to truly believe the prophecy and want to set out and find a solution to this impending doom. He is joined by princess turtles, and a genius fish who travel far from their pond to discover what is coming, and what they can do about it. While the main premise is a quest to save the home they love, the themes of friendship, caring for the environment and its animals, and avoiding climate catastrophe is strong and beautiful—without feeling sanctimonious. This would make for a great read aloud book for a parent and their young child!
The prose of Seacity is truly lovely, but the writing may be a bit too advanced for the middle grade reader this book is best suited for, as the story and message, the characters themselves, would not appeal as much to older readers in my opinion—the same older readers who would have an easier time reading this given the vocabulary and the long chapter lengths. However, that’s why I say this makes for a great book for a parent or older sibling to read aloud to a younger child. It really does have a lovely flow to the story that would be well served by an excellent narrator! And there are some cute illustrations to share as well, but not so many that the one being read to would miss out if they weren’t constantly looking at the page.
Along the journey, Babak and his companions meet other animals with similar tales of woe as the one they are trying to avoid for their pond, and I really enjoyed the inclusion of these other characters and seeing how the shifts in environment affected them as well. Plus, we also get to watch Babak and one of the turtles grow in their friendship, which was very sweet to watch unfold on the page. Not to mention the twists this story takes! I was pleasantly surprised by the answers that Babak discovers, and the solution he comes up with as these twists unravel themselves. The main themes are always present, but with these twists and the way Babak goes about understanding and solving problems, I never felt like the message was beating me over the head, which can be an easy thing to fall into when it comes to environmentally based books.
I really enjoyed, and was surprised by, the sophistication of this book and the prose used. Any young reader that loves animals, and any adult reader that wants their kids to be more environmentally conscious, will enjoy this story. However, that same prose which I really liked would make this hard for its intended audience, unless they are a really advanced MG reader who happens to be young and like talking animal books… Which is why I am giving it 4 stars, but still encourage this to be read aloud, as I think that’ll add a level of magic to it that would be perfect for this story! And thank you to the author for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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