'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 1 October 2021

Review: Manta Ray Dreams

In her publishing debut, Nadine Rajeh uses bold images in vibrant colours. A child’s strong narrative voice draws us into a story of longings, dreams, and wishes.

Although not named in the book, the little girl longs for more time with her father. As a single parent, he has life’s daily demands to complete before he can share pre-bedtime with his little daughter.

Each night when the child goes to her room, her nightly rituals bring her comfort and a sense of direction.

I listen to my secret thoughts.

 These are powerful and connected to the sea that sparkles like gems stones; the whisper of the waves as they lap the shore and fall against each other in the deep oceans.

She snuggles down into the warmth and softness of her bed covers, imagining they are those calming waves rocking her to sleep, and to what she knows as her manta ray dreams. Here she finds solace, while the stars of her night light, dance and swirl through the shadows.

At times, this is not enough.

Behind her eyes, manta ray glide with her and carry away thoughts about all the things she longs for and cannot have – mainly her father’s company, replacing them with calm sleep.

In her dreams she floats in a boat on swirling waters. Glistening rays from stars fall upon her as manta rays protect and guide her to a mermaid’s warm embrace, that reminds her of her mother’s love.

The symbolism attached to the beautiful manta ray, water and varying shades of blue as the dominant colour, create the perfect atmosphere for the messages of patience, hope, guidance, imagination and calm that the story carries.

A perfect bedtime read.

Title: Manta Ray Dreams
Author/Illustrator: Nadine Rajeh
Publisher: Spiral Beast Publishing, $NZ20.00
Publication Date: 30 July 2021
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780473579609
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book