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JOURNEY TO THE RIVER SEA by Eva Ibbotson Kirkus Star

JOURNEY TO THE RIVER SEA

By Eva Ibbotson (Author) , Kevin Hawkes (Illustrator)

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-525-46739-4
Publisher: Dutton

Known for witty, entertaining fantasies, Ibbotson (Dial-a-Ghost, p. 744, etc.) dispenses with magic wands and mythical creatures here and dishes up her best work yet—a topnotch 1910 adventure featuring exotic, vividly evoked locales, a caricature-rich cast filled with likeable (as well as thoroughly despicable) characters, and enough plot to fill an entire trilogy. Two years after the death of her parents, young Maia departs London’s Mayfair Academy For Young Ladies for Manaus, a remote town on the Amazon where the Carters, distant relatives, have at last been located. With her travels a new governess, Miss Arabella Minton, outwardly a cross between Mary Poppins and Atilla the Hun, inwardly a canny, resourceful, big-hearted sort with sadness in her past. Together, Maia and Miss Minton confront the Carters, as dysfunctional a crew as ever was, and also become involved in rescuing two more young orphans—one a penniless actor, the other a scion of a wealthy British aristocrat’s black-sheep son—from unpleasant fates. While skillfully weaving together numerous plot lines and suspense-intensifying complications—Maia and Miss Minton, for instance, love but do not come to understand or trust each other until nearly the end—the author gives her four central characters the inner stuff to cope with an array of challenging situations, and rewards them all with bright, diverse futures. And, of course, their prejudiced, mean-spirited adversaries get what they deserve in full measure. With a rain forest steeped in beauty and mystery for backdrop, this romp will transport not just Ibbotson’s fans, but legions of Potterites and their ilk as well. Illustrations not seen. (Fiction. 11-13)