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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Unknown Waters: Sara's Magical Coral Reef Adventure is a work of fiction in the animals and nature subgenre. It is best suited to emerging readers aged five to eight years and was penned by author Cynthia Bordelon with illustrations by Mariya Prytula. In this charming work, we meet our protagonist, eight-year-old Sara, who struggles with anxiety and often feels nervous and out of place in new settings. When she goes on a beach vacation with her family, Sara faces her fear of water and begins to discover the amazing ecosystem of the oceans, learning all about aquatic life, and learning a valuable lesson about her own bravery and capability along the way.
This was an absolutely captivating work that will be of great benefit to young readers for a variety of reasons. I loved the balance that author Cynthia Bordelon strikes between creating a fascinating and entertaining adventure story, but also weaving in important social and emotional issues as a core part of Sara’s journey. Add to this the fantastic educational element that will certainly get kids excited to know more about oceanography, and you’ve got a multi-purpose book that classrooms and home settings alike can benefit from and enjoy. The illustrations provided by Mariya Prytula add to this excitement with their vividity and wonder, and I also really loved the interactive elements in the work such as coloring pages and the glossary that introduces kids to a key research skill at such an early age. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend Unknown Waters to anyone with an emerging reader who is interested in the world around them.