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Journey to the River Sea (2001)

by Eva Ibbotson

Other authors: Kevin Hawkes (Illustrator)

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1,650567,546 (4.06)84
Sent with her governess to live with the dreadful Carter family in exotic Brazil in 1910, Maia endures many hardships before fulfilling her dream of exploring the Amazon River.
  1. 00
    The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery (humouress)
    humouress: 'Blue Castle' and 'Journey to the River Sea' have the same sense of wonderment and discovery at exploring the wilderness around the protagonist in the company of someone else who has made an effort to live in harmony with nature.
  2. 00
    The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Herenya)
  3. 01
    The Valley of Secrets by Charmian Hussey (infiniteletters)

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» See also 84 mentions

English (51)  German (2)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  All languages (56)
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
Maia is brave, smart and good. She attends a British boarding school until she is orphaned and sent to live with her closest relatives, the Carters. The Carters are rubber farmers in Brazil, living deep in the Amazon jungle. Maia journeys to Brazil and goes on a wild adventure, full of mystery, intrigue, terrible villains and fascinating friends. ( )
  klnbennett | Oct 7, 2020 |
Maia is sent to live with her cousins in the Amazon Rainforest, where she meets Finn and learns the beauty of the place and its people... Fantastic book, beautiful story. ( )
  AccyP | Jul 24, 2019 |
3.75 stars

It is the early 1900s and Maia is an orphan in England, though she was left plenty of money. Some family are found in Brazil on the Amazon, so she is sent there to live with them. A governess, Miss Minton, is sent with her. Maia is looking forward to the adventure and excited to meet her aunt, uncle and cousins - twin sisters - but when she arrives, she finds that although the Carters are living on the Amazon, they are trying to avoid it as much as possible. Everything they have and eat comes from England, and they are rarely outside. How disappointing for Maia, who was looking forward to running in the jungle and exploring.

This was really enjoyable. I liked Maia's independence, and I liked Miss Minton. In a lot of children's lit, the adults don't really play any part in helping solve anything. In this one, they weren't the main part of it, but they helped. I liked that, too. There wasn't as much to learn about the Amazon and the animals in it as I'd hoped, but it is a nice book to learn some tolerance of other peoples and cultures. ( )
  LibraryCin | Jul 5, 2019 |
Probably my favorite book of Eva Ibbotson. I lived off her books as a child. ( )
  miri12 | May 31, 2019 |
(Stand alone, juvenile, fiction)

This was an engaging story, set in the early 20th century, about a young girl called Maia who is enrolled at the Mayfair Academy for Young Ladies, an unusually progressive school for 1910. Maia, who is clever, brave and inquisitive, has spent all her holidays for the past two years at the school since being orphaned and the story opens on the day she is to find out if her guardian and lawyer, Mr. Murray, has managed to find relatives who will offer her a home.

'Well, Maia, we have good news,' said Miss Banks. A frightening woman to many, now in her sixties, with an amazing bust which would have done splendidly on the prow of a sailing ship, she smiled at the girl standing in front of her. A clever child and a brave one, who had fought hard to overcome the devastating blow of her parents' death in a train crash in Egypt two years earlier. The staff knew how Maia had wept, night after night under her pillow, trying not to wake her friends. If good fortune was to come her way, there was no one who deserved it more.

She is told that some distant relatives willing to offer her a home have been found, who live in the city of Manaus with its magnificent gold-domed theatre, deep in the Amazonian rainforest. When she looks it up in the school library, she imagines the colourful flora and fauna and the adventures she will have with her twin cousins. Sadly, when she gets there, she finds the reality quite different, as the Carters refuse to adapt to their surroundings, closing them out and attempting to live as they did in England.

But despite them, Maia - who has a love of life - makes friends, especially with two other orphans whom she tries to help to happy endings. Fortunately, she also has adults on her side who recognise her worth, namely in the shape of Miss Minton, her governess, and Mr. Murray. And she does get to explore the Amazon River, the River Sea of the title.

Beautifully written, engaging, lightly suspenseful and amusing. Deserved winner of the Nestlé Children's Book gold prize.

5 stars ( )
  humouress | Jan 20, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eva Ibbotsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hawkes, KevinIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Sent with her governess to live with the dreadful Carter family in exotic Brazil in 1910, Maia endures many hardships before fulfilling her dream of exploring the Amazon River.

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Miss Minton was certainly a most extraordinary-looking person. Her eyes, behind thick, dark-rimmed spectacles, were the colour of mud, her mouth was narrow, her nose thin and sharp and her black felt hat was tethered to her sparse bun of hair with a fearsome hat pin in the shape of a Viking spear.
'It's copied from the armour of Eric the Hammerer,' said Miss Minton, following Maia's gaze. 'One can kill with a hatpin like that.'

When she arrives in the Brazilian jungle, Maia finds she must tread carefully, but it's nothing to do with the plentiful insect life. Her sweetly dressed cousins are venomous, and her aunt and uncle avaricious. But the formidable Miss Minton is a staunch ally, and the Indian servants are loyal and loving. Maia also makes plenty of friends among the European children who live in Manaus, but none so close as the mysterious Finn Taverner, half Indian half European.
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