Sunday, July 4, 2010

Caribbean Children's Book review #2

The Ring and the Roaring Water by Diane Browne
Published by Diane Browne 2008
Pages 228
ISBN978 976 8203 79 3
Time Mill Adventure Series

Middle Grade reader

This is Diane Browne’s second novel about the adventures of two sisters Vanessa and Kerry Barrett. The girls are on summer holidays with their aunt and uncle in rural Jamaica when the discovery of a long lost ring causes them to go back in time in their uncle’s time machine to discover the truth of how the ring was lost or stolen.
The series is an interesting departure from the norm in children's literature from the Caribbean in that it is fits into the genre of historical sci-fi.
  In the previous book, A Tumbling World, a Time of Fire, the story takes the girls back in time to the terrifying 1907 earthquake which destroyed Kingston, the capital of Jamaica. These stories give accurate historical information in a way which will entertain readers.

In The Ring and the Roaring Water, Vanessa and Kerry meet Ian, a teenager, and his strange family. They are forced to shelter with this family during the disastrous 1951 hurricane Charlie and go out into the night when it seems that this house in past time might get washed away. The tension grows as the girls seem to be in imminent danger from the storm and the fact that they might not be able to return to their own time.

They do find out the uncomfortable truth about the ring, although there is still a problem arising from Time Travel which cannot be solved. The plot intricately interweaves the girls' Time Past and Time Present adventures.

The themes here are family, friendship, trust and loyalty, both in the main plot as well as in the subplot involving the girls’ relationship with the boy, Ian, they meet in the past. 

I particularly liked the development of the characters of the sisters - responsible Vanessa and impulsive younger, Kerry. All the characters in present and past time are well drawn and seem very true to life.

In these stories, Diane Browne has skirted the debate on the use of the creole in children's literature by placing the story in a setting which allows her to use standard Jamaican for the most part. It is quite authentic.  If you are interested in Caribbean children's literature I recommend that you contact Diane to purchase a copy.

This is a five star book. 

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