Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Island of the Aunts” as Want to Read:
Island of the Aunts
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Island of the Aunts

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  8,313 ratings  ·  414 reviews
Aunt Etta, Aunt Coral, and Aunt Myrtle need help caring for the mermaids, selkies, and other creatures who live on their hidden island--and they know that adults can't be trusted. What the kindly old aunts need are a few sensible and sturdy children who can keep a secret. And while kidnapping is generally not a good idea, sometimes it just has to be done. (After all, some ...more
Paperback, 281 pages
Published September 1st 2001 by Scholastic (first published 1999)
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 Island of the Aunts, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,313 ratings  ·  414 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Island of the Aunts
May 23, 2010 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)
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
Oct 26, 2009 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 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
Robin Stevens
Oct 19, 2014 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. ...more
Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
This is the fourth of Ibbotson’s books that I’ve read and once again one for children featuring both eccentric characters and fantastical creatures. But even though it is a fun adventure story, and probably more unusual than her others, at its heart (like her others) it essentially is a comment on human beings and the ills we unleash on the world around us, on our greed, selfishness—things that make so many of us rather despicable.

In this one, we have three sisters living on an island with thei
Abby Johnson
May 19, 2007 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. ...more
While reading this, I keep asking myself, "Is this really written by Eva Ibbotson?"
I love her writings, I should love this one too... but I DON'T
I don't know what goes wrong, but I just can't enjoy Monster Mission. It's boring...
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
Serena W. Sorrell
(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.
Olivia Grace Layland
Island Of The Aunts is truly one of the cookiest, funniest and craziest books I've ever read. The book itself takes place on an Island where Minette and Fabio are sent to live with their three aunts, who are also caretakers of the island. As the book goes on, you learn more and more about the island, and will keep you reading until you've finished. Suspense is everywhere as Fabio and Minette learn about the Kracken, and how a rich man wants to come and build on the island. I would definitely rec ...more
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic middle grade with themes even adults should enjoy. There's quite a lot of allusion to environmentalism, so if that's a subject you're interested in, or want to encourage children to read, I highly recommend. ...more
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of my favorites as a kid, it still is. Escapism, environmentalism, friendships, lessons on hard work and compassion. Love this story.
Cameron Sheffield
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Its good not great.
Rachel {bibliopals}
The kids liked it more than I did, thus the 3 stars, not 2.
Chloe Klare
Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021-books
My friend sent me this “completely happy book” because apparently I read too many depressing books...and it was so cute and wholesome
So far this is the 3rd story I’ve read by Eva Ibbotson, but unfortunately it’s my least favorite. It starts charmingly enough with the Aunts explaining that kidnapping is bad, but in this case it needs to be done. They need someone who will continue on with their legacy of caring for the magical and regular creatures that come seeking help to their far off island. Since neither of the three has children kidnapping is the only way. I know some reviewers had a problem with the kidnapping part, but ...more
chloe ♡
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school-library
Last year we had to read Journey to the River Sea for English class, and it was so good.
From then on I started reading a lot of Eva Ibbotson, who has become one of my favorite authors. This book is similar to Journey to the River Sea (what's with the M-word female names and F-word male names?), in which the protagonists were lovers of nature. One of the reasons I find this book amazing is that Ibbotson described the magical creatures in detail so fine that I could actually picture these non-exis
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
Apr 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 04, 2015 rated it liked it
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. ...more
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. ...more
Mar 01, 2012 rated it liked it
I wish Minette and Fabio’s friendship and love for the island had been better developed to offset their initial kidnapping. Loved the aunts and their non-traditional gender performance, though, and the ecological messaging.
Jun 29, 2013 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 :)
Oct 10, 2014 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
Z Cat
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
G-R-E-A-T!!! I mean, how many good-guys kidnap children?
Bobby Keniston
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had never had the pleasure of hearing about Eva Ibbotson until I found this book, "Island of the Aunts", on my bookshelf. I am not certain how it got there, but having just finished this enchanting book, I am happy to speculate that perhaps it was magic!
As someone who writes plays for teenagers and young audiences, I read a great deal of their fiction. "Island of the Aunts" is a treat that captures you from the first page, and holds on tight all the way through. It has come to light how much a
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Archer's Goon
  • Earwig and the Witch
  • The Hatmakers
  • The One Dollar Horse (The One Dollar Horse, #1)
  • Molly Moon's Hypnotic Time Travel Adventure (Molly Moon, #3)
  • Circles in the Stream (Avalon: Web of Magic, #1)
  • The Shark Caller
  • Girl in Blue
  • The Book of Repulsive Women: Five Increasing / Rhythms
  • Baklängeslivet
  • Pretending Is Lying
  • The Ophelia Letters
  • Witch
  • Witch's Business
  • Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile - 57 B.C.
  • The Georges and the Jewels (Horses of Oak Valley Ranch, #1)
  • Mary, Queen of Scots: Queen Without a Country, France, 1553
  • Black Maria
See similar books…
Eva Ibbotson (born Maria Charlotte Michelle Wiesner) was a British novelist specializing in romance and children's fantasy.

She was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1925. When Hitler came into power, her 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 education in 1965.

Related Articles

  Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made...
45 likes · 65 comments
“one of the sisters started shaving her legs and marrying tax inspectors, so she was no good.” 23 likes
“One can always bear what is right.” 12 likes
More quotes…