Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Nightbirds on Nantucket (The Wolves Chronicles, #3)” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
Nightbirds on Nantucket
Joan Aiken
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Nightbirds on Nantucket (The Wolves Chronicles #3)

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  1,872 Ratings  ·  97 Reviews

Having had enough of life on board the ship that saved her from a watery grave, Dido Twite wants nothing more than to sail home to England. Instead, Captain Casket's ship lands in Nantucket, where Dido and the captain's daughter, Dutiful Penitence, are left in the care of Dutiful's sinister Aunt Tribulation. In Tribulation's farmhouse, life is unbearable. When mysterious m

Mass Market Paperback, 243 pages
Published April 15th 1981 by Laurel Leaf (first published 1966)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Nightbirds on Nantucket, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Nightbirds on Nantucket

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Nov 28, 2007 Mariel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like ripping good yarns
Recommended to Mariel by: twigging my lay
Man, I love these books. The Wolves of Willoughby chase is really good, and deservedly a classic, but where's the love for Dido Twite? Most people I know don't realize that this was a series (the connection to 'Wolves' is a loose one). I love the little spitfire. Anyway, these were so much fun that I skipped a bunch of classes to read them. Good times. Not that I'm condoning truancy, I'm merely condoning reading these books (stay in school!). Not all of the Dido books are as good as this one, ho ...more
Hank Horse
Jun 01, 2008 Hank Horse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-kids
Oh boy! This may be my favorite of all the Joan Aiken books. Dido Twite is simply one of the greatest characters I've ever read. I wonder if anyone writing today could handle the challenge of a story with an adult Dido as protagonist?

some book-learnin':

"At the beginning, Dido is an eccentric, somewhat snappy child, with little to endear her. It is not long, however, before Simon and the reader begin to see something attractive in the ‘‘brat’’ (p. 23). Initially it is her ‘‘forlorn, neglected air
Sep 24, 2007 CLM rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to CLM by: Ward School Library
Reading this to my nieces. I read this so many times as a child but it is obvious to me now that Aiken had read a lot of Georgette Heyer - Dido uses a lot of slang that I have encountered nowhere else. I think that I as a child figured out all these expressions by context and it is interesting to see that the younger niece does that automatically and the 7th grader wants instant explanations. It will be nice when we reach the Twite books I never read.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Black Hearts
May 04, 2007 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: kids, adults
Shelves: best-books-ever
Okay, this is actually the third book in the series. The series goes as follows:

1. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
2. Black Hearts in Battersea
3. Nightbirds on Nantucket
4. The Stolen Lake
5. The Cuckoo Tree
6. Dido and Pa
7. Is
8. Cold Shoulder Road

There are more, but these are the best.

You can read them in order, or not (I didn't, and I actually recommend reading Nightbirds on Nantucket first, reading the other two as prequels, and then continuing on in order), but you absolutely must read them, beca
A fun read, but not up to the standards of the rest of the giant heap of "should've read this ages ago" books I've been going through. The main threat is just silly (a giant gun that will shoot across the Atlantic to kill King James in London, the recoil from which will push Nantucket into New York Harbor). Silly in a good way, of course--I don't mean to be a wet blanket here--but, given the context in which I read it, not nearly as realistic as I'd expect. I mean, THE BOY JONES was real within ...more
Oct 22, 2009 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an old book with a fun little story that was engaging and quick to read. Essentially about a whaling family who spends time searching for a pink whale, rescues a girl from the ocean, and destroys and evil plot to another nation. I won't give more details but I just found it fun and delightful to read. That said, I wouldn't bother buying it out but if you get a chance to borrow it then go for it.
Mar 15, 2008 Kirsten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-pre-12-07, own
Dido Twite awakens on a Nantucket whaler, having slept for ten months after being rescued from a shipwreck in the arctic. Now, before she can make her way back to her beloved England, she must help Captain Casket's daughter Dutiful Penitence face her fear of everything other than Bible study and needlepoint. No easy task in the face of Pen's new guardian, the sinister Aunt Tribulation! But is Aunt Trib all she appears to be? This is a mystery, an adventure story, and a very, very funny book.
Jodie "Bookish"  Cook
Book Review

Title: Nightbirds on Nantucket

Author: Joan Aiken

Genre: Children’s Fantasy

Rating: * * *

Review: After reading Nightbirds on Nantucket by Joan Aiken I have experience a profound feeling to regain the childhood I left behind me some years ago, it is an insane and enriching feeling that should enlighten any adult, child, male or female. The story begins when ten-year old Dido Twite, an English girl, awakens from a ten-month coma aboard an American whaling ship. When Dido recovers, Captain
Daniela Kraml
Feb 09, 2017 Daniela Kraml rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As with the previous books in the series, it is full of magic and wonders and tales of strong children and I loved it very much!
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
The first of the Wolves Chronicles that I ever read, and still my favourite. I have no idea how many times I've read this but at least ten or fifteen since I first ran across it in the elementary school library when I was about 8. I had no idea it was part of a series, as I remember only this and The Wolves of Willoughby Chase were in our library in those days. I read it again and again in school, and even borrowed it from a friend and never gave it back--sorry, Sarah. I still have it and it's i ...more
Joyce McPherson
Dec 15, 2016 Joyce McPherson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of our favorite Aiken books, and it is no longer available in the library! We read the entire Wolves of Willoughby Chase series aloud about every four years, and these books never disappoint. Aiken writes atmospheric prose--almost a Dickens for young people. Her stories are richly textured with plot twists and unexpected connections between characters. Nightbirds on Nantucket is especially fun for those who enjoy a taste of whaling culture during the late nineteenth century.

By the wa
Nov 02, 2015 Geneva rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I was a kid I would steadfastly refuse to read any books that were not about magic or aliens, and I mean steadfastly. I wouldn't read A Little Princess as soon as I realized that it wasn't about a real princess. There were a couple of books (like The Well Wishers) where the magic was vague and uncertain, and even those made me angry (even though I loved Edward Eager's other books). If it wasn't about magic, I wasn't going to read it. That was the rule.

To every rule there are a few exception
Sep 03, 2015 Angie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Delightfully adventurous! This book had me interested from the very first page. I loved all the characters, and the story was filled with all kinds of twists and turns. Dido Twite, Nate Pardon and Dutiful Penitence Casket were the main characters, along with Captain Casket and "Aunt Tribulation." Oh, and you can't forget Rosie, the pink whale and Mr. Jenkins the parrot who always talked as if addressing royalty. The expressions that the author, Joan Aiken had her characters use was colorful and ...more
Fantasy Literature
When we last saw Dido Twite at the end of Black Hearts in Battersea she was going down with the Dark Dew ship, swept away from her friends Simon and Justin in the middle of the ocean. Whilst the two boys were forced to go on without her (eventually preventing an assassination attempt on the Duke of Battersea), Dido's fate remained a mystery, that Joan Aiken now resolves for expectant readers in the third book in her Wolves Saga.

After a ten month long sleep, Dido awakes on board a whaler in the m
If anyone didn't like Dido Twite before, they certainly would after reading this! When she talked back to Aunt Tribulation, I wanted to cheer! This is a book I would have LOVED when I was younger. There were some parts that required a bit of suspension of disbelief, but in a good way. There were bits that made me think of Moby-Dick, but in a good way - the whale here is pink! There were also bits that reminded me of The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle, which also has a whale. Overall, I enjoyed this ...more
May 19, 2016 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you can imagine the plot of A Series of Unfortunate Events in the setting of Moby Dick, you'll have Nightbirds on Nantucket. I found this book God knows where probably a few years ago, likely at a second hand store or friends of the library sale. I bought it because I saw that the cover illustration had been done by Edward Gorey, and I'm a fan of his work.

I finally took it off the shelf to keep myself from making a trip to the bookstore, and I'm truly glad I did. The characters are quirky an
May 20, 2014 Micha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kids, adventurers, whale lovers. Fans of Nancy Drew and Boxcar Children.
I was drawn to this fun mystery adventure by the cover drawn by my beloved Edward Gorey and decided I must read a book that he involves himself with especially if there are pink whales in it!

This was my first encounter with Joan Aiken and my favourite aspect of her work was the rich imagery of her characters. It was lovely getting to know every one of them - even the naughty ones - and the author's love of the island of Nantucket was a nice treat. Getting to know a place through the eyes of som
Aug 31, 2010 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had no intention of running into that name Slighcarp. It really brings a thrill to have Dido Twite into the story. Sleeping for over ten months and she grew six inches. In the opening part of the book it showed a picture of Dido. I had no intention of them cutting her hair. Or dressing her up as a boy.

The understanding of Aunt Tribulation was another thing that went wild. Not Aunt Tribulation, but Ms. Slighcarp. Also, if little Deutiful Penitance was locked into a closet, and they tell what t
Aug 18, 2009 Meg rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone who REALLY likes Dido Twite
I picked up this book because I loved Black Hearts in Battersea when I was a child, and I enjoyed it again when I re-read it as an adult. I thought that it would be interesting to see how Aiken carried on the story of her characters (even though Dido was never my favorite), but unfortunately Nightbirds did not live up to my expectations.

The plot and intrigue are similar to the tale in its predecessor, but the story as a whole feels more disjoint. Add to this the fact that the crucial plot poin
Books Kids Like
Captain Casket finds Dido adrift in the North Sea. Unconscious for ten months, she is nursed by a cabin boy named Nate. When Dido awakens she quickly proves her pluck by keeping up with Nate abroad ship, but the captain assigns her the task of companion to his daughter, Dutiful Penitence. While the captain journeys on a quest to find the elusive pink whale, Dido and Penitence are sent to live with evil Aunt Tribulation in Nantucket. Auntie is the ring leader for a group of men making frightening ...more
Aug 11, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
I like these Wolves Chronicles. This one is about Dido, who was rescued from the sea by Captain Casket and his crew. After sleeping 10 months, she finally awakes and the Captain gives her the job of getting his daughter out of her cabin and of making sure all is right when they land in Nantucket and his daughter, Dutiful Penitence, has to live with her Aunt Tribulation. There are some totally unbelievable parts, but the book is exciting and fun, and Dido is good at getting the best of Aunt Trib.
As a part of the series I rate this four stars, but as a stand-alone three stars. This story does not require one to have read the previous books. It is a little slower than the first two, but having said that, it picks up and I read it every chance I could get. It seems that Dido grew up a lot since the second book, even though she really had no time to mature in between. Oh well. She's not as annoying in this one. I didn't like her very much in Battersea. A fun read. I'll be going to the libra ...more
Apr 26, 2010 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-reads
We see a lot more growth from the characters in this book than in the previous two. Dido becomes a responsible hard-working girl who cares about people other than herself. Pen overcomes her irrational fear of everything, and both, especially Dido, have become two of my favorite characters from this series.

The idea of the story was unique and the interesting turns in the plot made it a very enjoyable read.
I just love the Wolves series. "Nightbirds" is a particular favorite of mine. As a kid, I remember being fascinated by the character of Dido Twite--especially the way she talks. She uses tons of Britishisms, and they flow out of her at an amazing rate. I think she's hilarious. Aiken's plots are fantastical and entertaining, and her villains are super nasty and over-the-top! Great reading for elementary-aged girls, especially historical fiction fans.
Dec 12, 2012 Jossalyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
love this author; love this series; love the Robin Jacques illustrations; love this book most of them all. Love Dido- her dialog is reason enough to read the book. love the scurvy villains, the goofball plots, the outrageous coincidences; had to laugh over and over at the terms like woolyknob and peevy culls and holusbolus in her skully!
first read in 1974 and many times since. have always stopped at the three though there are many more in the series.
Sep 11, 2014 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another rollicking adventure from Joan Aitken. Dido Twite is back, having been rescued from the sea at the end of Black Hearts in Battersea, and ends up saving both James III and Nantucket Island from an unfortunate fate. She is as feisty and outspoken as ever, which is much of the fun of this book, but I didn't enjoy the plot quite as much as I have some of the others in this series, hence only 4 stars.
Alette J.
Nov 12, 2011 Alette J. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
After re-reading, and re-loving, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, I decided to give Joan Aiken's other books a visit. While I did enjoy this one. I found it difficult to get into, the beginning was abrupt and confusing and the amount of historically-accurate vernacular didn't help. Once the heroines were off the boat and on Nantucket, I found the pacing picked up and I was drawn to keep reading to the end.
Oct 02, 2010 Leslie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 15, 2015 Suzi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love how each book Joan Aiken writes links together but through a different character. I love guessing who her next book is going to be about. This was a gorgeous tale about Dido that was exciting, had a great female lead and built on friendship. I would definitely recommend this book and all of the previous ones too. I can't wait to share them with my class and hope that they like them as much as I did.
Jane Irish Nelson
Fun alternate history -- though the children it's aimed at may not realize it at first, I certainly didn't when I was young!

When Dido Twite wakes up from a coma on board a whaling ship, the captain asks her to coax his daughter out of the closet of his room, where she's been ever since her mother died. She succeeds, and then accompanies Dutiful Penitence to her home on Nantucket, where her aunt Tribulation is to look after her. But nothing there is quite what they expect.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Mistress Masham's Repose
  • The Story of the Amulet (Five Children, #3)
  • Treasure of Green Knowe (Green Knowe, #2)
  • The Wizard in the Tree
  • The Well-Wishers (Tales of Magic, #6)
  • The Swing in the Summerhouse (Hall Family Chronicles, #2)
  • Linnets and Valerians
  • Daughter of the Mountains
  • Black and Blue Magic
  • Thursday's Child
  • Spiderweb for Two: A Melendy Maze
  • Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone: The Entomological Tales of Augustus T. Percival
  • The Turret (The Rescuers, #3)
  • The Gammage Cup (The Minnipins, #1)
Joan Aiken was a much loved English writer who received the MBE for services to Children's Literature. Her most famous classic, THE WOLVES OF WILLOUGHBY CHASE has been in print for over 50 years with a new AUDIO recorded by her daughter Lizza. She was known as a writer of wild fantasy, Gothic novels and unforgettable short stories.
NEW COLLECTION 2016 - The People in The Castle https://www.goodread
More about Joan Aiken...

Other Books in the Series

The Wolves Chronicles (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (The Wolves Chronicles, #1)
  • Black Hearts in Battersea (The Wolves Chronicles, #2)
  • The Stolen Lake (The Wolves Chronicles, #4)
  • Dangerous Games (The Wolves Chronicles, #5)
  • The Cuckoo Tree (The Wolves Chronicles, #6)
  • Dido and Pa (The Wolves Chronicles, #7)
  • Is Underground (The Wolves Chronicles, #8)
  • Cold Shoulder Road (The Wolves Chronicles, #9)
  • Midwinter Nightingale (The Wolves Chronicles, #10)
  • The Witch of Clatteringshaws (The Wolves Chronicles, #11)

Share This Book