Nightbirds on Nantucket Paperback – Sep 27 1999
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About the Author
Joan Aiken, daughter of the American writer Conrad Aiken, was born in Rye, Sussex, England, and has written more than sixty books for children, including The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.
Top Customer Reviews
After a ten month long sleep, Dido awakes on board a whaler in the middle of the Artic sea, on a boat completely covered in icicles and frost. There she meets young Nate, a ship's hand, who informs her of her surroundings, of how far she is from home. Also on board is the fox-like and slimy Mr Slighcarp and the moony Captain Casket, who is determined to chase and catch the magnificent pink whale. He informs Dido that his young daughter Dutiful Penitence Casket is also on board, but who has locked herself away in a cupboard in mortal terror of the sea. He requests that Dido attempt to coax her out, and then accompany her to her Aunt Tribulation on the island of Nantucket before she tries to head back to England. Dido, taking it into her responsiblity to teach Penitence not to be so timid, agrees despite her homesickness.
But there are other mysteries about, such as the fierce stowaway that Dido finds hiding in the hold, and the suspicious actions of Mr Slighcarp that aren't solved by the time Penitence and Dido reach the domineering and threatening Aunt Tribulation. The two girls eventually realise there's a Hanoverian plot in the making that involves a giant gun being fired from Nantucket to London, which will not only succeed in destroying the palace, but with blowing Nantucket backwards into New York harbour!Read more ›
I think it's a funny spoof of the whaling society of Nantucket in the 19th century, and of the Puritanical sort of Quaker types who brought up "Pen". This book introduces several sympathetic, believable, "bang-up" characters, such as Nate, Doc Mayhew, Cap'n Casket and Professor Breadno, and of course, Mr. Jenkins. The plot is wildly fantastical, (and physically impossible, in some parts) but the wonderful storytelling more than makes up for that, and rather sets the scene for the even more eerie and improbable sequels, The Stolen Lake and The Cuckoo Tree. Loads of fun, a must read for kids, and I personally think that adults should read it just to get in touch with the inner child within, etc. etc. READ THIS BOOK!
As usual Joan Aiken is brilliantly spoofing 19th century literature. Adults will find the parody hilarious while children thrill to the melodrama.