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Night Birds on Nantucket (The Wolves Chronicles #3)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  1,980 Ratings  ·  107 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 ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 4th 2004 by Red Fox (first published 1966)
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Rating details
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Nov 28, 2007 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 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
May 04, 2007 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
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
Sep 24, 2007 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
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 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 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.
Kira Nerys
So far, each book in this series has been only tangentially connected to the previous one. You could start with any adventure. And I have to say: this might be the best place to start. Rereading it, I'm reminded how Dido Twite is, without a doubt, the star of the series. From this book onward, she's consistently the protagonist--and the version of her we see through Simon's eyes in Black Hearts in Battersea feels far more juvenile than this quick-witted, rebellious young'un.

After reading about
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
Vishaka Rajan
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm happy I got to read more about Dido, as she is my favorite heroine of all times! I love her plucky attitude, and her "brattiness" that was seen in the previous novel is all but gone! I will admit that I didn't enjoy this story as much as I had hoped; it felt a bit too disjointed for me. While I'm used to reading about ridiculous and funny characters in this series, Captain Casket was a bit too ridiculous, and I found his obsession with the pink whale to be perplexing. If I'm honest, I didn't ...more
Esther Tubbs
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! What an amazing adventure story with lots of twists and turns! I loved Dido Twite's personality. I kept thinking of Pipi Longstocking! She is funny, curious, and not afraid to do the unthinkable.

The way the story was laid out impressed me. For it being more of a children's book it had the un-expectancies of a higher-reading type book. I can safely say that it really did keep me on my toes. I would have no problem reading the rest of the books, especially if Dido is in them. ;)

There really
Scooping it Up
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
My kids and I love how each book in this series is related but the focus shifts to the adventures of a minor character from the previous book. This book focuses on Dido, a poor street smart girl who REALLY shines has a hilarious and brilliant protagonist. Any time we encounter a book with strong female leads, my heart rejoices. The dialog is so fun to read out loud, and Dido has a fabulous accent that is nicely written. This author is a master of making voices easy to do and making the way her c ...more
Charlie Moses
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here Joan Aiken continues her interconnecting series of stories set in Jamesian England with this successor to "Black Hearts in Battersea" by telling the tale of Dido Twite, who has been carried off on a whaling ship to Nantucket. Here, our plucky heroine saves the day and the English monarch, Good King James, in a rollicking good read. Improbable as it may be, the story makes it all believably well-constructed. It's the best kind of story!
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This another great book from The Wolves Chronicles.

Dido Twite wakes up on a ship and ends up having an important task to do which ends up putting her in another dangerous situation.

An enjoyable read. I took so long because life got too busy. Joan Aiken really is a fantastic writer as she combines a thrilling plot with some darkness and plenty of humour.
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Delightful. Long may Rosie gambol!
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a second read for me.
The first time was about 34ish years ago, when it was assigned for school while we were doing a unit on whaling.

In a fit of nostalgia, and out of a need to read something non-taxing, I recently picked it up again.
At my age now, with my current tastes in reading, it's kind of hard to judge this book objectively given that I don't read YA literature. (I'm not even sure this qualifies as YA.)

However. It's kind of a fun, neat, gothic thriller, in a re-imagined mid-19th
When I find a book that's a bit older and rather obscure, but intensely delightful, I make it a personal goal to convince as many people as possible to read it. One such book is The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken. I must reread this one myself, as I am in desperate need of cheering up. And what better way to cheer oneself up than by reading a classic orphans-menaced-by-wicked-relatives tale that involves an alternate British royal history and packs of hungry, hungry wolves?

I know, I ca
Nov 02, 2015 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 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 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 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
Joyce McPherson
Dec 15, 2016 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
Aug 31, 2010 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 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
Daniela Kraml
Feb 09, 2017 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!
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 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.
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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)

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