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Journey to the River Sea
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October 2016: Historical Fiction > Journey to the River Sea / Eva Ibbotson - 4****

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 5645 comments Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson
Journey to the River Sea – Eva Ibbotson
4****

Maia is an orphan in London, in the early 1900s. She is in a boarding school where she has many friends and is beloved by the teachers and staff. Her family’s solicitor has finally found some distant relatives who have agreed to take Maia in … however, she’ll have to leave her school and go to Brazil where the Carters have a rubber plantation. It so happens they have just hired a new governess for their twin daughters, so Maia and Miss Minton will make the long journey together. While she is sad to leave her friends at school, Maia is excited by the possible adventure of living in a jungle setting, and she reads about the Amazon and Brazil to prepare herself for her new life. What she finds, however, is far from her imagined situation.

What a lovely adventure / coming-of-age story! Maia is a strong female character – intelligent, kind, generous, brave, resourceful and loyal. I loved how she reserved judgment until she was certain of the facts, and even when faced with greedy, spiteful people she maintained her dignity and, with the help of Miss Minton, found a way around obstacles. Her willingness to explore and learn about the native culture was also a fine lesson. And I liked the way Ibbotson made heroes out of some unlikely characters.

I did think the Carter family – father, mother, and twins – were rather stereotypical “villains,” but that is a small quibble. This is a children’s book, after all, and I don’t expect the same subtleties that I would in literature written for adults.

Occasional illustrations by Kevin Hawkes really lend atmosphere to the book.


message 2: by Nicole (new)

Nicole | 428 comments Right off the bat, this review gave me an A Little Princess vibe. Is that a half way correct assumption as to where this book led?

Used to love Ibbotson. She has some fun children's fantasy books!


Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 5645 comments Nicole wrote: "Right off the bat, this review gave me an A Little Princess vibe. Is that a half way correct assumption as to where this book led?

Not really "Little Princess" .... Most of the story is in the Amazon river area (near Manaus). But the "good, strong, little girl" against the "greedy, mean-spirited" adults (and other children) is certainly a common theme in many children's books.


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