Where Dolphins Race with Rainbows is a novel by Jean Cullop, and is the first in the Tales of Karensa series. The book takes the form of a Christian allegorical fantasy, much in the style of C. S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia, minus the talking animals. The book starts with Luke and his sister Rose, children from our world, accidently finding their way in to the island of Karensa. Here, they find a people of medieval-like technology and development, and are stuck there, as there is no way through the mists that surround the island to their home.
"Welcome to Karensa!"
Luke opened his eyes, blinking in the strong sunlight. He was sprawled on his back on soft, dry sand. In front of him the sea was calm and deepest blue.
So the mist and the storm were a dream? But as he struggled to sit up he realised that there had been no dream. This was not where he lived, Poldwan. And he was being watched by a group of the strangest people he had ever seen.
What is this strange land to which the dolphins have brought Luke and his sister Rosie? And can they ever get back?
But soon, the become deeply involved in the island – and the rebellion that is brewing there.
This is the first book in the four part series, the Tales of Karensa, and is very, very good. Luke and his sister Rosie, are cast up on the shores of a land which they have never heard of, Karensa, and at first all they want to do is leave. But, soon, they become deeply involved in the island - and the rebellion that breaks out there.
I liked this book because Luke learns not to get cross when things don't go his way. It was also well written. It was very frightening when Bellum (the baddie) attacked everyone who believed in the King and Salvis (the goodies). Ket got caught when he was trying to free Petroc (one of the main characters). After a day or two, Bellum murdered him. This was very sad. It was so good that we have immediately started to read the next book in the series, Castle of Shadows. (Sapphire, age 9).
Really good book. My sister was just reading them with my mum and I decided I wanted to read them again having already read them as a family. I am going to try and read Castle of Shadows while my sister is still reading them. Another great book. We've got the whole series and I'm going to read them one after the other. The whole series is really really really really really fantastic. (Olivia Age 13).
I enjoyed reading this book to my children when they were about 11 and 9. It's quite a short book, and the story develops at a good pace, making it an ideal read-aloud. The allegorical aspects are cleverly done – it's not at all clear that it is an allegory when it starts, and the children only slowly picked up (some of) the references to characters from the gospels. The main child characters of the story are refreshingly human, displaying real selfishness at times, and courage at others. There's plenty of opportunity to relate to one of more of the characters and consider your own attitudes.
Overall I recommend this book (and its three sequels). My only criticism (as an adult) was that because the book is quite short, the author has crammed too many events into too short a timescale for the story to be entirely believable (the whole collapse of the kingdom and rebellion happens in only a few weeks), but this didn't seem to bother the children, and as I've already said, it makes for a great story to read aloud.
Really good book. I liked the whole book because it was exciting and I didn't want to stop reading it! (Rose, aged 8)
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- Reading Age: 9+
- Reading Aloud Age: 7+
Some violence. Several of the good characters are killed by the usurping ruler, which could come as a bit of shock to a young reader.
If you like this you might like
- The other Tales of Karensa, Castle of Shadows, Children of the Second Morning and Silver Serpent, Golden Sword.
- The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis, which are very similar
- Try The Archives of Anthropos by John White, which are also about children from our world going into a medieval world filled with adventure.
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