Parents' Guide to

Marikit and the Ocean of Stars

By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Sweet, quirky quest tale steeped in Filipino folklore.

Marikit and the Ocean of Stars

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This sweet, sometimes quirky quest tale with a very relatable female hero brings exciting elements of Filipino folklore to life. Marikit is every kid who's full of envy at a rich girl's birthday party and annoyance at her mom for not getting her birthday dress just right. In fact, her naynay (mom) gets it horribly wrong, or so Marikit thinks. The genius of the scrappy dress is revealed in the land of Engkantos. It's got a needle for a compass and lets Marikit know when she's headed toward danger. Of course, Marikit doesn't always follow Mom's rules or the warnings of other fantastical characters, like a sweet firefly creature who follows her. Watch out when Marikit takes off the dress to let it dry, when she waves at giants to be polite, and when she heads into a mysterious city trapped in a bottle. Things get extra nail-biting exciting when the sinister wolf-like aswang creatures are in pursuit.

Marikit and the Ocean of Stars would make a fantastic family read-aloud for fans of fairy tales. (If you get stuck on some of the Filipino words as you go along, bookmark the glossary -- it includes pronunciations.) The story moves at a good pace and Marikit makes some curious and quirky friends to root for, like a lazy boy waking up from a curse and a sheltered girl who catches on fire in the sun. She meets some prickly deities, too, like the goddess of the waters who doesn't see why Marikit wants to save her friends and family. She also learns to tame her green envy monster and makes some decisions about what matters to her, decisions that will really resonate with families. The writing is at its lyrical best at the beginning of the story and focuses less on pretty prose as the story ramps up. That said, readers probably won't mind this shift by story's end. It's about as "happily ever after" as it gets.

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