Review Blog

Oct 28 2020

The tunnel of dreams by Bernard Beckett

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Text Publishing, 2020. ISBN: 9781922330185.
(Age: 7-10) Highly recommended. Identical twins are always considered special, the way they look the same, can finish each other's sentences and dream the same dreams. But to the main characters in this story, Arlo and Stefan, none of these matters until they discover Alice living in the abandoned house in their street. Her twin has been captured and hung in a cage above a strange mine in a parallel universe and she needs the help of another set of twins to be rescued. Would the boys believe any of that if Alice told them? She doesn't think so and decides it would be better to lure them to the other world and deal with the truth as they need to know it later.
The boys travel through a mysterious tunnel at midnight on a night with a full moon and land in a world that has many surprising similarities to theirs. Alice has been there before and knows much more than she is telling them, but they see she is desperate to rescue her sister and decide they will do what is needed to help her. The story follows their quest and the way they learn to use the magic that is hidden within themselves in this strange world. Ultimately, they must consider that nothing can be deemed impossible until you try it, such as talking to animals, sending telepathic messages and learning to fly. Who can they trust to help them and are all the people they meet exactly as they seem?
The characters develop brilliantly through the story and they learn to trust each other through their efforts to plan and execute their daring rescue mission. The message here is that loyalty is one of the most important virtues that helps develop good friendships. This a fast-paced adventure will appeal to middle primary children and would be a great class novel to read out aloud.
Bernard Beckett is an award-winning author from New Zealand. Teaching notes are available. Themes: Time-travel, Courage, Twins, Quests, Friendship.
Gabrielle Anderson

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