Thursday 19 October 2023

The Broken Rainbow: Nerra, Deep Time Traveller

The Broken Rainbow: Nerra, Deep Time Traveller by Tasma Walton. Illustrated by Samantha Campbell. Scholastic Australia 2023. Paperback RRP $16.99. ISBN 9781760264567.

Reviewed by Debra Williams

Nerra loves her family, particularly her great-grandmother, Nana Mirrin, who shares many stories of the Dreamtime and history with Nerra. Nerra wishes Nana could live forever. She feels sad when Nana talks about returning to her dreaming, and Nerra knows that means Nana will be called away from the world sometime soon.

During the first week of the school holidays, Nerra stares through her bedroom window at a strange, grey, constant rain that has persisted for a week. Something about the rain isn’t right. Little does Nerra realise that her life is about to change dramatically.

Nana gifts an old wooden box to Nerra and explains to her that is has been passed down through generations. As it is passed along each time to the third generation, it is now Nerra’s turn to be the keeper. She asks what is in the box and tries to open the lid, which will not budge. Nana says that it only opens occasionally but will open when the time is right in line the will of the Ancestors. She also gifts Nerra with a special shell bracelet, to remind her that Nana will always be with her.

After her great-grandmother’s passing, Nerra lays down for a rest. When the bracelet falls from her wrist, it lands under the bed next to the box. Nerra manages to open the box and she is drawn to an ancient pair of clapsticks. As she handles them, something unbelievable happens. Nerra finds herself transported to the Dreamtime, where the Dreaming is way out of balance. The husband and wife of the rainbow have been separated and kidnapped by evil, otherworld beings. Nerra realises that she has been tasked with the job of rescue and restoration. So begins an epic adventure of boldness and bravery, a situation which needs a heroine. Can Nerra step in, aided by two others, and restore nature’s balance by reuniting the rainbow keepers and overcoming the wicked Devour’ena?

This is the first in a new adventure series for 8-12-year-olds. Easy to read, this will engage the imaginations of young readers, especially those interested in Dreamtime stories. It includes a glossary at the back of the book, explaining some of the Indigenous words.

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