This gorgeously illustrated book is a feast for the eyes and a treat for the soul. It’s written for a younger audience, obviously, and the narrator chooses a simple, conversational style that could appeal to even the youngest of readers (or could at least be read to them). But even as an adult, LORAC is a pleasant and easy read, as entertaining as it is educational (touching on family values, friendship, the importance of a symbiotic ecosystem, and climate change).
Lorac is a young member of the Moken tribe, an unusual group of sea nomads, an unconventional sixth son in a familial structure that traditionally calls for only 5 children, and a really decent kid. I loved how his differences set him apart immediately — his sea-sickness despite his family’s legacy as sailors — and how they evolved to showcase his strengths rather than his weaknesses. As is often the case in coming-of-age stories, an unexpected tragedy quickly pushes him outside of his comfort zone. (This line is gold: “Like most people, Lorac hadn’t really understood life wasn’t forever until he had been at risk.”) And that’s where the adventures and a whole new underwater world of incredible characters come into play.
I especially loved that there’s no Moken word for “goodbye”, by the way… just see you later. And the concept that dolphins are a link between the living and the dead. 🙂