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Nightbirds on Nantucket
 
by
Joan Aiken
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Nightbirds on Nantucket (The Wolves Chronicles #3)

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  1,335 ratings  ·  70 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

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Mass Market Paperback, 243 pages
Published April 15th 1981 by Laurel Leaf (first published 1966)
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Mariel
Sep 07, 2010 Mariel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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...more
CLM
Jul 21, 2010 CLM rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Rebecca
May 04, 2007 Rebecca rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Wordwizard
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
Kirsten
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.
Julie
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.
Micha
May 20, 2014 Micha rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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...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...more
Luann
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
Karen
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.
Angela
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...more
Jean
One of my favorite YA books, although it did confuse me (because I'm an American who read Aiken before reading much English history). I'm reading "Moby Dick" now and catching still more of the "Nightbirds" jokes. Smart, funny, weird--everything I like.
Meg
Oct 30, 2012 Meg rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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 point...more
Anthony Faber
Wolves #3. this one follows Dido Twite after she is lost in the ocean. Her ordeal has apparently made her somewhat impalusibly nicer, smarter and more caring of others. There's some really bad science here, too. Still, if you can ignore that, it's entertaining.
Aprilj328
An old fashioned kind of book --Dido is rescued from the sea and taken aboard Captain Casket's ship. She stumbles upon a Hanoverian plot, saves Nantucket and sees a pink whale. MS/HS
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
Jossalyn
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.
Diane
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.
Anna
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.
Alette J.
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.
Leslie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lauren
I actually read an old 1969 paperback version of this book that I picked up at a garage sale. I was looking for a light, entertaining read, and this fit the bill. Dido, the main character, is great powerful female character and I love the transformation that Pen goes through by the end of the book. Overall a great read. I will have to check out Aiken's other books.
Ashley
I didn't love this one. I like Dido but found the whole ship setting a bit boring. The parts on Nantucket were more interesting but still just felt a bit over the top. Of course part of the fun of these books is how over the top and silly some of the plot points are but this one just didn't work for me like the others in the series unfortunately.
eve
Dutiful Pentitence Casket... "Croopus... whoever tied that handle to you musta been dicked in the knob, and I'm not going to lay my tongue round it every time."

Super fun for anyone who has ever had an instinct for defying authority. Plus, Dido's language becomes her own. Worth reading for that alone.
Laura
Third Wolves series book I've read so far. All are witty and well written. Love the combination of silly plots with realistic descriptions of nature, and of course, the faux history. Good for kids or adults. Read on recommendation from my teenage daughter.
Maureen E
The first Aiken I ever read. Interestingly, it’s one of the few novels in the series which I feel can really stand on its own–the complicated backstory of Dido and Simon and all the rest doesn’t come into it except very marginally. [Mar. 2010]
Emily
Dido Twite, I could kiss you right on the guttermouth.

Good, old fashioned sea faring adventure, with a nasty and mysterious guardian (Miss Slighcarp is back!), various slow-witted adults, and a pink whale.

Nothing Dido can't handle of course.
Dave
Very entertaining tale of mystery and fanstastic happenings centered on Nantucket, meant for kids but ... Love the heroine's cockney dialogue. The book's focus is on a pink whale and a gun that can hit England from Nantucket.
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Joan Delano 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 celebrating its 50th Anniversary with the publication of three brand new editions of the book and a new AUDIO recorded by her daughter Lizza.

Follow THE JOAN AIKEN BLOG at http://joanaiken.wordpress.com/

Read NEWS & NEW PUB...more
More about Joan Aiken...
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (The Wolves Chronicles, #1) Black Hearts in Battersea (The Wolves Chronicles, #2) Jane Fairfax Arabel's Raven (Arabel and Mortimer, #1) Midnight Is a Place

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