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Nightbirds on Nantucket

(The Wolves Chronicles #3)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  2,287 ratings  ·  136 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, 218 pages
Published October 25th 1999 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1966)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,287 ratings  ·  136 reviews

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Start your review of Nightbirds on Nantucket (The Wolves Chronicles, #3)
Nov 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers Who Enjoyed the First Two 'Wolves' Books
Dido Twite returns for her first full-length adventure in this third installment of Aiken's Wolves Chronicles. Rescued from the North Sea by the whaler Sarah Casket, Dido eventually finds herself on Nantucket, where she must cope with her whiny young companion, Dutiful Penitence, and a harsh task master named Aunt Tribulation. Uncowed and unimpressed, Dido is more than a match for her adversary. But as yet another nefarious plot to assassinate Good King Jamie begins to unfold around her, it will ...more
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a jolly good read this is, well suited for YA audience I should think. Perhaps every British home has a stack of books by this author, Joan Aiken, but this was my first reading of her. It was a whale of a tale, pun intended. An old sea captain sails his whaler always on the lookout for the big pink whale he had saved off Nantucket when a younger man and eventually this same whale saves the day for Nantucket from a Hanoverian scheme to kill the English king. Aiken created lively and believab ...more
Sep 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
For all you fans of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, here is the third in the twelve volume series. Twelve! What riches! These are a happy re-read.
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, dido-twite, aiken
Writing a successful novel is sometimes a little like inventing a recipe for a special dish. Take a dash of Jules Verne, add essence of Charles Dickens, several pinches of Herman Melville and season with adventure. Would that it was as simple as that. What you need is the main ingredient, the protein in the dish, and in Night Birds in Nantucket that is provided by the indomitable figure of Dido Twite.

When we last saw Dido she'd been lost at sea somewhere off the northeast coast of England, presu
Beth (bibliobeth)
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it
This novel is the third in The Wolves Chronicles books by Joan Aiken that I've been steadily reading with my sister and fellow blogger, Chrissi Reads for our Kid-Lit challenge over the past few years. We absolutely adored the first novel in the series, The Wolves Of Willoughby Chase and quite enjoyed the follow-up, Black Hearts In Battersea so were both intrigued to see how the series was going to continue, particularly with the emergence of beloved character Dido Twite. Sadly, I'm not sure if t ...more
Amy Gentry
Dido Twite! The Pink Whale! And many, many jokes about how Nantucket islanders feel about New Yorkers. Maybe this was my favorite Wolves book so far? Notwithstanding the barely tolerable funny-foreigner accent, which is par for the course for these books but somehow this instance seemed more mean-spirited than usual. Maybe we still don’t feel great about Germans in ‘66. I have however greatly warmed to the unpredictable violence in these books. Dido Twite is my 100% fave and I’m happy she’s goin ...more
Nicole Mcgovern
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of my favorites as a child!
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a daft but fun read.
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
Aug 07, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Mar 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, read-pre-12-07
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. ...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. ...more
Tabitha Suzuma
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite childhood authors.
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
Dec 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
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
Deborah Ideiosepius
This was the third of The Wolves Chronicles and I read it directly on from the #2 in the series.

'Nightbirds' begins on board a whaling ship, traveling in the arctic in search of whales to kill. Historically, this was a very interesting time to live in and Nantucket was a major center of whaling. Emotionally, I find reading anything about whaling pretty disturbing, but in this book it does ok. The practice is described just enough for the story, and not too much to be terribly upsetting. Lets re
Jack Deighton
At the start of this follow-up to Black Hearts in Battersea, itself a sequel of sorts to The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Dido Twite has been comatose for four months, fed by one of the crew on the whaling ship Sarah Casket, which rescued her from drowning.

On her awakening she is asked by Captain Casket to befriend his now motherless daughter Dutiful Penitence (Pen) who is too scared to come on deck and hides away in her cabin. Dido soon finds another member of the crew, Mr Slighcarp (a surname
It centres around 10 year old Dido, she wakes up from a ten month coma aboard a whaling ship. When Dido feels better, she is asked by Captain Casket to make friends with his daughter who refuses to leave her cabin. Dido teaches the daughter, Pen, to let go and have fun. Eventually, Pen becomes confident to leave the cabin and have some adventures with Dido. Captain Casket is on a mission to find a pink whale. He leaves Dido and Pen with Aunt Tribulation whilst he searches for the pink whale. Aun ...more
Priscilla King
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like alternative history
Dido Twite, who was mistakenly believed to have died back in England, is alive and under the feet of the crew on a Nantucket whaling ship. She goes back to Nantucket to live with one of her new friends' daughter, Dutiful Penitence, and a grim older woman who claims to be Pen's Aunt Tribulation, but is actually Miss Slighcarp, the villain from volume one of the Wolves Chronicles (this is volume three). Slighcarp was also involved in the failed attack on King James III that apparently killed Dido, ...more
Kathleen Dixon
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
AT the end of Black Hearts in Battersea, Dido Twite is missing at sea presumed dead. We, the readers, of course are confident that there will be more to come for her and Joan Aiken, this great children's author, agrees with us. So we find her at the beginning of this book, in a coma on board a whaling ship.

I've loved Joan Aiken's work since I was a child - she uses words beautifully, she tells hard facts (like the killing and butchering of a whale) in a matter-of-fact way, no simpering to soften
Jun 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joan Aiken’s alternative history series that began with The Wolves of Willoughby Chase takes a transatlantic turn in this third volume. The irrepressible Dido Twite who we first met in volume two and missing presumed drowned at the end of that book has been plucked from the water by a whaling ship under the mercurial captainship of the profusely bearded Captain Casket. As is Joan Aiken’s way, events follow events at a rapid pace: there’s a mysterious (but strangely familiar) lady hiding in the b ...more
The third installment of The Wolves Chronicles feels awfully similar to the previous entry, Black Hearts in Battersea. There are missing people, folks hiding their identities, and Hanoverian plot to overthrow the sitting king of England, which it is up to the children of the story to put a stop to. This time we get a different setting- on board a whaling ship to start, and then on the island of Nantucket. The story is fun and whimsical. It includes a pink whale that follows a sea captain around, ...more
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
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
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, kids
I read this book so long ago - 6th grade maybe? I don't know what I liked about it then and I could not remember the characters much or the storyline at all before I reread it, but there was an excitement of reading that began because of it. When I read it as a child, I didn't realize it was part of a series, so now I am going back and reading the series.
Aiken has a way of making her characters so much fun to read. Dido Twite - what other character is quite like her? And Dutiful Penitence, Nate
Ashley Lambert-Maberly
Another treat. I'm a huge fan of the tone and texture of her works. I'm quite sure they won't be for everybody, but for me, they strike a sweet spot. They're fun, without being relentlessly action-packed. The characters are interesting and distinctive. Even when stuck in the direst of circumstances the protagonists are cheerful and optimistic. And it's all just weird and quirky enough to elevate it beyond exceedingly pleasant, to exceedingly interesting.

(Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = v
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Joan Aiken was a much loved English writer who received the MBE for services to Children's Literature. She was known as a writer of wild fantasy, Gothic novels and short stories.

She was born in Rye, East Sussex, into a family of writers, including her father, Conrad Aiken (who won a Pulitzer Prize for his poetry), and her sister, Jane Aiken Hodge. She worked for the United Nations Information Offi

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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