By Claudine Gueh Yanting
98 pages (estimated – ebook reviewed) – ages 9+
Published by Carry Us Off Books on April 8, 2014
Little Orchid lives in 1960’s Singapore with her family. When Little Orchid and her sister are invited to a wealthy classmate’s house for dinner, Little Orchid realizes that they are being served a giant cuttlefish – a special animal from the sea. They brought the mighty beast in, still alive, to be prepared. Little Orchid felt a connection with the cuttlefish when she made eye-contact with it, and feels sorry that she could not help it at all. Little Orchid tried to not eat the dishes with cuttlefish – and she was doing pretty good at that – until the hosts plopped a piece of cuttlefish on her plate. It would have been disrespectful not to eat it! While everyone is watching, Little Orchid chokes down the piece of cuttlefish. A few minutes later, she throws up. Little Orchid and her sister quickly leave the premises. The next morning, Little Orchid wakes up to find herself covered in boils and rashes. When Little Orchid finds herself stretching out, elongating, she realizes that she is turning into the giant cuttlefish. She doesn’t know why, but she is. Her family will despise her. She quickly crawls to the nearby sea, and enters it without telling anyone. She begins her new life as a sea monster, wondering if she’ll ever see her family again.
This was an enjoyable story. I love the message I got out of it- if we take something special from the sea, the sea will take something special from us. I like that it takes place in Singapore during the 1960’s. It was nice to read a novel set in a place I usually don’t read about. Little Orchid is a good main character who thinks that everywhere she goes, she brings trouble. You really care for her, and you cheer her on until the last page. Ms. Gueh has a wonderful writing style, and it makes you feel like Little Orchid is talking to you. I enjoyed the voice of the story. I like how there are cool painting-like illustrations scattered throughout the book. This book would be great for reluctant readers, and young readers. For me, I would have liked for the story to be a bit more involved and give me more because I enjoyed the plot concept so much. It’s a good thing that I would like more. Little Orchid earned a spot on my library shelf!