Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda (1993) 138 p.

After cramming down a book the size of a car battery I usually like to read something quite short, and a trip back to Perth gave me the opportunity to retrieve some of my old books (which my Dad had packed out in the shed – the shed!). Rowan of Rin is one of the earliest books I can remember reading, and this edition was, shall we say, “borrowed for an extended period of time” from Karrinyup Library.

Emily Rodda is an Australian childrens’ author probably more famous these days for the Deltora Quest series (which was great) and the Teen Power Inc series (which, these days, always makes me think of this). But the Rowan series is a really neat little kid’s book set in a fairly simple fantasy world. The village of Rin takes its only water supply from the Mountain that looms over the village, where a dragon is said to live. When the water dries up, some of the villagers must venture up the mountain to investigate – including, through a neat trick, the weak and frightened 10-year-old protagonist. There are riddles to solve, monsters to face, and morals to be learned. It’s typical children’s fiction, really, great for kids in the middle years of primary school, and I enjoyed the nostalgia it sparked off in the dusty corners of my brain. I might actually order the rest of the series – there were five books in total, the fifth of which I never got around to reading.