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Island of the Aunts

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  6,868 Ratings  ·  321 Reviews
On a mysterious island somewhere in the Atlantic, three eccentric aunts kidnap some children to help them care for an assortment of astonishing creatures, not only those of the sea, but also mermaids, a couple of ghosts, and a talking worm.
Hardcover, 281 pages
Published October 23rd 2000 by Dutton Children's Books (first published 1999)
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Lord of the Flies by William GoldingTreasure Island by Robert Louis StevensonAnne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryIsland of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'DellThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Books Set on Islands
80th out of 448 books — 160 voters
My Name Is Rapunzel by K.C. HiltonThe Wide-Awake Princess by E.D. BakerPrincess Ben by Catherine Gilbert MurdockThe Secret of Platform 13 by Eva IbbotsonIsland of the Aunts by Eva Ibbotson
5th out of 52 books — 19 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jul 17, 2010 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ann by: Kathryn
I'm still not entirely sure what I thought of this book... part of me really liked it, and part of me didn't. I suppose if half stars were allowed, I’d award this 3 and a half, but since there aren’t, I’ll err on the plus side.

First of all, I very much enjoyed Ibboston's style of writing. She definitely has a flare for words and a wonderful way with unique descriptions. She's also able to give one a feeling of a character in just a few phrases, something it seems few authors are able to do. I th
Mike (the Paladin)
Aug 06, 2014 Mike (the Paladin) rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-fantasy
Once again I find myself in a "startlingly small" minority about a book. I find myself wondering if it's something generational here? Now, my children are all grown, but given the opportunity, I'd probably not have read this one to them... (but to quote one of the Aunts in the book "you know how men are." Really? What would be the reaction if I said "you know how women are"? That's a phrase we don't use anymore because it's deemed to be demeaning. Apparently "men" can't be demeaned. To be fair, ...more
Jonathan Peto
I just finished reading this book to my son, who is nine, and he expressed curiosity about whether there was a sequel, which surprised me. He never complained while I read it, which surprised me first, because Island of the Aunts is not like the books he reads on his own and I myself had some mixed feelings about the story.

An appreciation of Eva Ibbotson in the Horn Book a year or two ago convinced me to pick this up. Like other reviewers here, I loved the author's writing style, which was lyric
Jul 08, 2010 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy fans, those seeking books on protecting the environment or on broken homes
Having read and loved Ibbotson's The Great Ghost Rescue, I had high hopes for my journey to the Island of the Aunts. And I must now consider myself an Ibbotson fan! I love her style. For me, it is the closet thing to JK Rowling's that I've found in terms of characterization and humor and blending magic with "the real world" but Ibbotson also has her own flare and it just makes me smile to read her work.

That said, I must say I was a little disappointed with "Island of the Aunts" Maybe my expectat
Mar 03, 2009 Blessing rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Easy read and fun to imagine it being real today.
Recommended to Blessing by: I got it from my mom's house
I got this book at mom's house when she was letting us pick 5 books out.
This is a real story - meaning not fantasy, but it actually has some things that wouldn't be classified as "real". It has mermaids that have been in an oil spill and selkie seals that when you look in their eyes you can see a human spirit. There is also the have to read the book to find out why this Kraken is so beautifully created by the author.
Taking place from England, there are 3 aunts (they have a nephew
Island Of The Aunts is Eva Ibbotson's magical, sea-side fantasy with an environmental message.

Three oddball aunts; Etta, Coral and Myrtle live on a secret island.....caring for a wide variety of animals ranging from ordinary chickens to mystical creatures like selkies, boobries and even a family of abandoned, oil-slick mermaids. But managing the ever-increasing menagerie is a full-time job and the aunts aren’t getting any younger.

So the best option seems to be to kidnap some children and bring
I am wavering between 3 and 4 stars. I really like Eva Ibbotson's writing, so I would like to give it 4 stars. But I just wasn't that excited about the book. I think the thing that bothered me most was that the aunts kidnapped children. Sure, I know why they did it. But I still didn't like it. And I didn't feel particularly tied to any of the characters, which is disappointing. The aunts were the best-developed characters, but they were also kidnappers, so I couldn't get too emotionally attached ...more
Abby Johnson
May 19, 2007 Abby Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sisters Etta, Cora, and Myrtle are getting older and they know that they're going to need some help taking care of the creatures that reside on their island. What they need are a couple of strong, open-minded children. Children nobody seems to want. Children who will grow up on the island and learn to love and care for the creatures that come there for help. There doesn't seem to be any other way to get such children except to kidnap them. So that's what the sisters decide to do.

When Minette and
Short, sweet, cute. Not the best writing, but it doesn't need to be. I just needed to redip my toe back into my little childhood memories, that's all.
Robin Stevens
Oct 19, 2014 Robin Stevens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eva Ibbotson will teach you how to be a better person. If this book doesn't make you want to run away to a magical island to tend to the natural world (baby krakens and baby ducks alike) and live in harmony with the universe then you probably don't have a soul.
Island of the Aunts is the second book I read from Eva Ibbotson. Which makes me pity myself for discovering the author this late. The book didn’t fail my expectations, for Ibbotson makes bizarre things out of common, of creating wonderful and unforgettable characters without being far-fetched from reality.

The book tells the story of the three aging sisters who live in a remote island somewhere in Greenland. Along with their father who decided to stay in the island and started everything, the thr
Aug 06, 2016 Dacko rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Posle knjige 'Sedam veštica, jedna venčanica', baš su me neprijatno iznenadile knjige 'Obdanište za čudovištanca' i 'Pas i njegov dečak', mada znam da se deci sviđaju pa pretpostavljam da je problem u meni: kidnapovanje mi nikako ne može biti duhovito i teško mi je da svarim roditeljske karikature čiji je strašni greh to što su bogati, a čim su bogati podrazumeva se i da zanemaruju decu, pa ih treba pod hitno ukloniti deci s puta da bi ona mogla da dožive predviđene avanture. A sve ono fino i pl ...more
A somewhat naughty adventure story of children and their foray into the world of fantasy creatures these 'aunts' move in. It's a good story with several references to things that probably don't belong in there: adult issues, mainly. There is also a nudist colony in this story, and while I felt it was dealt with well, I also wondered why it had to be in there. Just silly fun, overall, especially once kids are of an age to process the weird parts. Which would vary by age.
When it comes to old ladies kidnapping kids and making them do strange tasks, I think I can relate. But you have to laugh. They really do mean well, and sometimes you learn some things you never would have if they didn't kidnap you. Other times, you just have to shake your head and wonder if they're not just losing their minds.
Aarifa - Lover of Harry Potter, Books, and Animals-
This book was awesome! I really, really liked how Ibbotson used a very good plot.
Half of the book made me have tears in my eyes, especially the parts the kraken was in! I also thought that most of the parents in this book were spoiled, which I don't really like. This book reminds me of kinda "old fashioned" books, but with some of the everyday things in it, and a little more humor too! I don't really have time to write the full reveiw I meant to write, but this book really was one of my favorite
Jun 20, 2016 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this outing of Ibbotsen's, it's the adults who are the most spoiled and badly behaved. I'm unsure about the connection between this and Ibbotsen's Platform 13, but the creatures and characters are just as vibrant - and the kraken is the most enchanting figure I've read about since Aslan. The Island in 13 is in a different realm. This island seems to share space with the ordinary world. Whatever the case, this is an imaginative fantasy written to start some good discussion with children over h ...more
Z Cat
Aug 15, 2015 Z Cat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
G-R-E-A-T!!! I mean, how many good-guys kidnap children?
Julie Decker
Etta, Coral, and Myrtle are the caretakers of a magical island: that is, its inhabitants are in some cases supposedly mythical creatures, odd animals, and assorted supernatural creatures. But they aren't getting any younger, and they soon realize they need help caring for their island. They develop a plot to kidnap children to do it, because adults can't be trusted not to exploit the island or reveal it to the outside world. So three children are plucked from their own lives--where they are inte ...more
Serena Wyndelin Ogawa
(did not finish)

I just found the tone, the writing, and really the themes and characters to be entirely too preachy about conservation. Of course we all know how important it is, but the book really managed to make me feel like I was listening to someone begin a 'save the whales' speech rather than a fiction work aimed at children.

Not to mention the whole drugging and kidnapping of children just didn't hit a chord with me.
Jan 02, 2016 American rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this as a double sided book with 'The Secret of Platform 13' as a gift from my best friend for Christmas. I began reading it by myself first, but then restarted with my family after I began telling them about it, we often read books aloud, so I read it aloud and we all enjoyed it.
Being the first book by Eva Ibbotson I had read, I was pleasantly surprised. There were scenes that were funny, scenes that were magical, and kind characters.
Though it is wrong for the aunts to kidnap the
Nov 13, 2015 Zack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Island of the aunts is about two young kids a boy and a girl who are not happy with how they live, the girl is scared of the dark and her parents are divorced and the boy is from south America and his mom is from south America and his dad is an American 'gentleman' so they sent him to live with his grandparents so he can learn to be a gentleman and the aunts choose 'kidnap' them and they find themselves on a magic island and care for all kinds of creatures even mermaids and a booribe!

I love thi
Sarah Crawford
Feb 09, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good story about three aunts on a very special island. Etta, Coral and Myrtle are on an island on which live some very special beings. These include mermaids, a special 'worm,' a special bird and a variety of others. They are there for shelter and the aunts take care of them.

The aunts, though, need others to help (since they are getting rather old), so they decide to kidnap children. They pick children whose parents don't seem to care about them at all, and who might seem to do well o
Jul 08, 2015 Sophie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I read this book in third grade and then in fourth grade and it was literally my favorite book but all my friends are making fun of me because I liked it and nobody understands how good it is
McKenzie Richardson
Interesting book. This is an easy read and Ibbotson's writing is very well done. The only hesitation I have about this book is its premise kind of gives me the creeps. It is about a group of women who kidnap children to help them take care of the animals on an island. The children end up enjoying their time on the island and don't want to women to get in trouble for kidnapping them. The whole time I was reading it, I kept getting tripped up by Stockholm Syndrome vibes. The premise was kind of cr ...more
Rebecca Falus
Jan 23, 2015 Rebecca Falus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Island of the aunts by Eva Ibbotson is about a bunch of woman who protect an island with amazing creatures who are hurt. Unfortunately they are getting old and this responsibility has become too much to handle. They decided that the island needed new care takers who are younger but just as responsible. They set out to find kids whos parents didn't love them and were still smart and kind. they would only take kids who were miserable. Then the woman took them to the island to takeover. I would giv ...more
May 07, 2014 Kristen rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-books, book-club
I can see why someone likened Ibbotson's style to Ronald Dahl - particularly in regard to idiotic/mean parents - but just without so much of the underlying meanness.

As a parent, I myself was leery about the kidnapping premise. However, during the book club discussions it became apparent that the kids who read the book completely understood the illegality of the kidnapping, but accepted it as fantasy;and they were altogether more disturbed by the behavior of the parents (particularly the divorced
Jul 06, 2013 Diana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Eva Ibboston!!! Even though her books aren't for teens they're amazingly good. They make me feel like a little kid again :)
This is another one of those books I think I would have enjoyed immensely had I first read it when I was around 9-12 ... unfortunately, reading it as an adult, it fell a little flat. I could appreciate it from a distance, so to speak, but I never fully engaged with it. I also couldn't read about Minette's parents without feeling sick to my stomach (another problem I wouldn't have had as a child with less experience of the world). So, one I will cheerfully hand to my kids in a few years, but not ...more
Leah Beecher
This is my second stab at reading Eva Ibbotson. Unlike the first one we tried, we finished this one; just barely. We skipped some chapters at the end, which meant we probably missed good parts, but really it was just getting too long. The premise and tone started out so good. Very Roland Dahl, with strange "Aunts" {which is a British term for hired women who accompany children that must travel long distances alone...apparently a typical occurrence in the UK?}. The Aunts are bizarre and weird, bu ...more
Widad Oteh
This book is easy to read and rather entertaining, and that's about it. The plot is straightforward and cliche, the only really suspenseful part of the plot is the minor detail of who is traveling with the Kraken, which quickly gets solved, and the characters are not particularly interesting either. The children Fabio and Minette show some promise early on, but they quickly lose this in favour of descriptions of wildlife on the Island. The creatures themselves are mildly interesting but are most ...more
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Eva Ibbotson (born Maria Charlotte Michelle Wiesner) was a British novelist specializing in romance and children's fantasy.

Eva Ibbotson was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1925. When Hitler came into power, Ibbotson's family moved to England. She attended Bedford College, graduating in 1945; Cambridge University from 1946-47; and the University of Durham, from which she graduated with a diploma in edu
More about Eva Ibbotson...

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“one of the sisters started shaving her legs and marrying tax inspectors, so she was no good.” 21 likes
“One can always bear what is right.” 9 likes
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