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About the book
  • Published: 2 July 2018
  • ISBN: 9780143771210
  • Imprint: Picture Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 32
  • RRP: $19.99
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Who Stole the Rainbow?


Formats & editions


A dazzling 'mystery thriller for children' about how rainbows appear and disappear by award-winning picture book creator Vasanti Unka.

Award-winning picture book creator Vasanti Unka brings us a visually gorgeous 'mystery thriller for children' about what makes a rainbow appear and disappear - and who is to blame!

A razzle-dazzle rainbow suddenly disappears from the sky . . .

What happened?
Was it stolen?
Who will solve the mystery?

Be prepared for a thrilling tale of crime, suspense, sunshine and rain.

This colourful and memorable tale comes with fold-out pages and a QR code taking you to a short animated video in which characters from the book explain how rainbows (really) appear.

Who Stole the Rainbow? is the perfect story for all budding scientists, meteorologists and detectives.

  • Pub date: 2 July 2018
  • ISBN: 9780143771210
  • Imprint: Picture Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 32
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Vasanti Unka

Vasanti Unka is an award-winning writer, designer and illustrator noted for the originality of her storytelling, her riotously colourful and inventive illustrations and the gorgeous design and production of her picture books.

Vasanti is the illustrator of Hill & Hole by Kyle Mewburn, which was shortlisted for the Best Picture Book award at the 2011 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. Hill & Hole won the LIANZA Russell Clark Award the same year and was also the first children's book to win the Gerard Reid Award for Best Book at the PANZ Book Design Awards.

The Boring Book (Puffin 2013), which Vasanti wrote, illustrated and designed, was named the 2014 New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year and also took out the Best Picture Book Award category. The judges described it as 'a remarkable book that exceeds any expectations of its genre. It exhibits the highest quality of design and its presentation is thoroughly original. The story takes delightful unexpected turns that charm afresh with each reading. Small children and older readers alike will be delighted by its subversive touches and entertained by its warmth and fun.' It also won international acclaim with its inclusion in the 2014 White Ravens Catalogue and in 2016 was named an IBBY Honour Book for the excellence of its illustrations.

Stripes! No, Spots!, published by Puffin in 2015 and described by poet Paula Green as 'scrumptious in every way', was lauded as a 2016 Storylines Notable Picture Book and was simultaneously published in the UK and US.

Who Stole the Rainbow?, a humorous mystery thriller for children about why rainbows appear and disappear, was published in 2018. To date the story has been sold to Mainland China, Taiwan and North America. It was a finalist for the Best Picture Book category of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2019.

Vasanti lives in Auckland, New Zealand, where she juggles creative work and numerous book projects.


Praise for Who Stole the Rainbow?

“This fun and inventive picture book is pitched as a mystery thriller, with dazzling illustrations and an informational bent to boot...Vasanti Unka has packaged a simple concept — how rainbows occur — into a vibrant parcel of playfulness.”

Otago Daily Times

“There aren't many mystery thriller picture books, especially ones that provide subtle lessons on meteorology, science and forensics and do it all in vivid neon. But award-winning local writer/illustrator Vasanti Unka has achieved this with her latest humorous story about what makes a rainbow appear and disappear.”

Dionne Christian and Zoe Gadd, Weekend Herald

“A clever, quirky book for inquiring minds...Vasanti Unka is taking picture books somewhere special and different again.”

Maria Gill, Kids Books NZ

“Snappy illustrations and humour make this book about how rainbows are made accessible and fun for a younger audience.”

Paddy Richardson, Heidi North and Rebekah Fraser., Judges' comments, NZ Booklovers Awards


Awards & Recognition

  • New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

    Finalist • 2019 • Best Picture Book

  • NZ Booklovers Award

    Shortlisted • 2019 • NZ Booklovers Award for Best Children’s Book


Discover More

Q&A
A Q&A with Vasanti Unka, author/illustrator of Who Stole the Rainbow?

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