The Plum-Rain Scroll, by Ruth Manley

Taro, the odd job boy at the Tachibana-ya (the orange Tree Inn) isn’t looking for adventure, but adventure, it seems, is looking for him. When his Aunt suddenly disappears from the inn, Taro goes looking for her. Soon, he finds himself in an unlikely group of companions, including Prince Hachi (Lord Eight Thousand Spears), a ghost named Hiroshi and an Oni with a taste for poetry.

Together, this group searches for Taro’s lost Aunt Piety who, they discover, is the only person able to translate the Plum-Rain Scroll. Aunt Piety is hiding from the evil Black Iris Lord, Marishoten, who seeks to capture her and have her translate the Scroll so that he can meet his aim of overthrowing the Mikado.

Set in folkloric Japan, this classic story has wonderful elements of fantasy, adventure and suspense. Young fantasy lovers will love the style and be endeared to the fantastical creatures who Taro befriends.

The Plum Rain Scroll was first published in 1978 and was the Children’s Book of the Year in 1979. It has been re-released in 2005 as part of UQP Children’s Classic Series. This delightful offering is suitable for readers aged 10 to adult.

The Plum-Rain Scroll, by Ruth Manley
First Published by Hodder & Staughton, 1978. This edition published by University of Queensland, 2005