Friday, May 22, 2009

The Loose End of the Rainbow

The Loose End of the Rainbow
by D. B. Pacini

(Singing Moon Press / 0-977-04972-8 / 978-0-977-04972-1 / March 2009 / 232 pages / Ages 9-12 / $12.95 / Amazon $10.15)

Reviewed by Dianne Salerni for PODBRAM

White Eagle and Paints-With-Words were born in the exact same minute while their tribe resided temporarily in a magical place known as The Loose End of the Rainbow. These special children were gifted with extraordinary powers and destined from birth to fulfill a prophecy. Seventeen years later, when all the adults in cultures across the world vanish in a single night, White Eagle and Paints-With-Words lead their tribe of children on a mystical odyssey to rediscover the Loose End of the Rainbow, while telepathically communicating with similar teenage leaders around the globe. The tribes of children encounter natural hardships and evilly enchanted obstacles on the way to their goal while learning lessons about man’s relationship with nature and the Earth.

D.B. Pacini’s fantasy, set in prehistoric America, strives to recapture the style and themes of many Native American legends. The Loose End of the Rainbow has received accolades from Gathering of Nations, WRITE ON, Shadagea Music, and many other sources, commending the quality of the author’s story-telling and positive themes of youth leadership for children and harmony with nature. The writing is carefully edited and often beautiful. The theme of the book is worthy of examination, and yet, overall the novel did not work for me.

One of the cardinal rules of writing is: show, don’t tell. I felt there was simply too much “telling” and “teaching” in this novel for it to engage young readers the way the author intended. There are copious footnotes explaining all references to names, plants, and animals – not to mention modern references to Martin Luther King, global warming, and more – which might have been better placed in a glossary at the end. Plot events do not drive the action inevitably forward; instead, each one is individually designed to promote a lesson from the author. Every event is explained to the reader as it happens, so that there is no suspense or mystery to the story. The author states her theme directly multiple times, rather than letting it subtly develop as the novel progresses. This might work for a children’s picture book or a fable, but not in a 200-page novel for intermediate readers who are accustomed to discovering theme and thinking for themselves.

Of course, this is only one reviewer’s opinion, and from the number of pre-publication endorsements received by this novel, other reviewers have felt differently. I would suggest that interested readers check out the links to other reviews before making their decision.

See Also: More Reviews of D. B. Pacini's Book

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