Tuesday, August 10, 2004

A Trip to the Amazon

Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson, 2003

Maia leaves the security of her boarding school to live with relatives in Brazil after the death of her parents. She is hoping to find a loving family and is apprehensive about leaving everything she knows to live along the wild Amazon River. Her courage is further tested when she meets Miss Minton, the serious governess who is traveling with her. The wildlife, color and scents of the Amazon are thrilling her. Unfortunately her new family smells like bug spray and they live in fear of the very Nature that amazes Maia.

The story has some fun characters, Clovis, a young English actor longing for home, Finn, a mysterious and exotic boy who lives in the jungle, and a Miss Minton, a governess who recognizes Maia's sharp mind and nurtures it. The comical twins, Beatrice and Gwendolyn, are the proverbial "ugly stepsisters."

The story has an old fashioned feel to it, in the best sense. A missing inheritance, switched identities and the setting of the Amazon rain forest intertwine as Maia and her friends search for home.

Kevin Hawkes illustrates the book, as he has other Ibbotson novels, with humor and whimsy.

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