Oona (Oona #1)

by Kelly Dipucchio (Author) Raissa Figueroa (Illustrator)

Oona (Oona #1)
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Series: Oona

This comical and heartfelt picture book is a winning celebration of invention, creativity, and friendship. With gorgeous underwater scenes and a crowd-pleasing tale, this is one little mermaid who is here to make a splash!

New York Times bestselling author Kelly DiPucchio and illustrator Raissa Figueroa would like to introduce Oona--the big wide sea's littlest mischief-maker. Oona and her best friend Otto love to search for treasure...and often find trouble instead. Messy trouble.

Tricky trouble. Even shark-related trouble. That's never stopped them before, though! After all, no proper treasure hunt is without some adventure. But when the grandest treasure yet is stuck in a deep, dark rift, Oona's not sure if she can dive right in.

Find books about:

More books in the series - See All


A small heroine young readers will be happy to meet.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

K-Gr 2-Deep in the ocean fantasy depths lives a mermaid. "Sweet, and a little bit salty," Oona has grown up curious and brave from her earliest years as a treasure hunter of the rift where land breaks away and waves collide in strong ocean currents. Watery images highlight plants, ocean creatures, and her repurposed treasures with shades of filtered light while Oona swims, her Black Afro at its fullest and tail swishing in graceful arcs with her sea otter best friend. Challenging the illuminated eyes watching below, Oona has found something better than common "keys, coins, buttons, and bottles." A sparkly crown rests amid lobster crates, rocks, and planks of sunken ships. Digital art reflects the fluid, dark depths of the deep ocean fissure and panicked faces of creatures caught in its grip, as the rift itself keeps watch over Oona's futile effort to grab the ultimate treasure. "You can keep your dumb crown," she shouts-"I quit!" With Oona's break from her hunt, images focus on the little mermaid isolated in small vignettes, as she tries to regain her "spark." A pair of found glasses becomes treasure-hunting goggles, and the scary rift is forgotten with the singing of friendly whales. VERDICT A recommended first purchase for all libraries and useful for social emotional learning, this title celebrates independence, self-confidence, and bravery to try the new even after defeat as Oona becomes aware of the true treasure in her personal effort.-Mary Elam, Learning Media Services, Plano I.S.D., TX 

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publisher's Weekly

Oona is a little mermaid who's the very definition of intrepid. She loves to hunt for deep sea treasure (which readers will recognize as humans’ lost and discarded items) with her sidekick, Otto the otter; in one funny scene, they chill on the ocean floor wearing chic human sunglasses that they’ve scavenged-cat eyes for Oona, aviators for Otto. But the big prize that Oona is after is an "extra sparkly" crown she’s spotted, wedged into a corner of the ocean. Does she have the patience and ingenuity to extract it? Despite DiPucchio's (Grace Goes to Washington) concise and sprightly text, the storytelling loses some of its drive as Oona's quest encounters requisite setbacks, and the life lesson wrap-up ("Because sometimes the best treasure in the world isn’t found. It’s made") feels unnecessary. But the digital illustrations by Figueroa (Sophie and Little Star) are a true wonder of the deep, with compositions worthy of full-length animated features, and a palette of radiant, translucent greens, blues, and magentas. Brown-skinned Oona, who wears a magnificent Afro studded with bioluminescent wisps, floats through the ocean exuding the kind of upbeat confidence that should have readers asking for more. Ages 4-8. 

Copyright 2020 Publisher’s Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Kelly Dipucchio

Kelly DiPucchio likes her bacon well-done, served with two eggs over easy and a side of rye toast. She is an award-winning author of several children's books, including the New York Times bestsellers Grace for President and The Sandwich Swap. She lives with her husband and three children in southeastern Michigan.

Eric Wight will eat just about anything with bacon in it. One of his favorites is maple walnut bacon ice cream. He is the illustrator of the Magic Shop series. Everyone Loves Bacon is his first picture book. He lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania with his bacon-loving wife and children.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Katherine Tegen Books
Publication date
January 20, 2021
BISAC categories
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV029010 - Juvenile Fiction | Nature & the Natural World | Environment
JUV066000 - Juvenile Fiction | Mermaids
Library of Congress categories

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!