Island of the Aunts

by Eva Ibbotson

Hardcover, 2000

Call number




Dutton Juvenile (2000), Edition: 1st American ed, 276 pages


As they get older, several sisters decide that they must kidnap children and bring them to their secluded island home to help with the work of caring for an assortment of unusual sea creatures.

Media reviews

Children's Literature
Here is a creative, whimsical novel in the fine British tradition of Roald Dahl. Three aunts live on a secret island in the Atlantic. They are charged with maintaining the safety and health of many strange and wonderful sea creatures, including mermaids, selkies, the stoorworm, and the giant
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kraken. But the aunts are growing older and need some help with their caretaking duties. They decide to kidnap some children and bring them to the island. Minette and Fabio are unwanted children who love working with the aunts. Lambert Sprott, on the other hand, is a spoiled brat who causes nothing but trouble. When Lambert's greedy father tracks Lambert down, he also threatens the lives of the beautiful creatures. He captures most of the island's inhabitants, intent on making money off of them back in England. Of course, the forces of good prevail in the end. Packed with witticisms and dry humor, children will laugh out loud at the wacky world Ibbotson has conjured up. 2000, Dutton Children's Books, $15.99. Ages 8 to 12.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member alcrivello
Children chosen to take care of an island full of mystical creatures! What could be more exciting!
LibraryThing member kthomp25
A British publication means some expressions are odd to Americans. A fascinating story of kidnap and mythical creatures. The story centers around Minette and Fabio, the kidnapped children who learn to care for the creatures, and unfortunately the relationship between them and the Aunts is
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As the story concludes, the action is implied more than described, but still a wonderful,whimsical experience. I would recommend to anyone with imagination.
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LibraryThing member maddi6072
This book is about 3 aunts who own a small island that is yet to be discovered by the government. They need help taking care of their island so they decide to kidnap kids to help. 2 of the kids enjoy working with the creatures and respect the island but the other one is the exact opposite.
LibraryThing member madison5305
Island of The Aunts was a great book full of fiction and mistical creatures. It is about 3 Aunts who live on a desserted island and need help taking care of it so they kidnap 3 kids from america to help them.
LibraryThing member pencil_nerd
One of those weird occurrences when you're browsing through the library trying to find something to check out so you don't get in trouble and it turns out to actually be pretty good. I just love the plot of the book, it's so hilarious if you think about it carefully, but it's still very good. You
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could probably go through life without reading though, so don't waste your time if you're not a reading addict who has to read anything within grasp, it's something that you read on a chance encounter and you'll probably eventually forget you ever read it, I had to wrack my brains to remember the title. But it's worth reading, so, don't forget to grab it if you ever see it on your local library's shelf.
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LibraryThing member jjallen
I really liked the funny characters in this book and their adventures. There are tons of enjoyable fantasy characters too.
LibraryThing member Samwisegirl12
The story follows the two children who are kidnapped by three sisters to help them take care of their island. Their captors, however, turn out to be kind and quirky women, the island full of amazing and magical creatures, and their lives there much better than those they lived with their families
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back at home.
This was one of my favorite books from around 6th grade or so, and I still reread it from time to time now.
Eva Ibbotson can always be counted on for fun and interesting fantasy stories, and "Island of the Aunts" is no exception.
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LibraryThing member FieryNight
Amazingly good. Eva Ibbotson is a true artist.
LibraryThing member abbylibrarian
Sisters Etta, Cora, and Myrtle are getting older and they know that they're going to need some help taking care of the creatures that reside on their island. What they need are a couple of strong, open-minded children. Children nobody seems to want. Children who will grow up on the island and learn
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to love and care for the creatures that come there for help. There doesn't seem to be any other way to get such children except to kidnap them. So that's what the sisters decide to do.

When Minette and Fabio first come to the island, they don't love it instantly... but once they find out the special creatures they will be taking care of, they grow to love it. But what will happen when the future of the island is threatened?

Another hit by Ibbotson. She tells the story with wit and humor. It's funny and touching with a dash of adventure. Highly recommended for fantasy fans.
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LibraryThing member AMQS
"Kidnapping children is never a good idea. All the same, sometimes it has to be done."

Eva Ibbotson is always a good choice for a read aloud, and we definitely enjoyed this one. A blurb on the back of this book pretty much sums up why we like Eva Ibbotson so much: "Once again Ibbotson takes readers
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on a voyage to a place where magic is mundane and it's the people who are strange." Kindly old aunts Etta, Coral and Myrtle live on a forgotten island that has become a refuge for the world's magical creatures -- mermaids, selkies, stoorworms, boobries, and naaks are among the creatures who seek care, rehabilitation and refuge here. The aunts are aging, and understand that they must teach a new generation to care for these creatures, and to take their place when they die. With no natural heirs, they decide to kidnap some worthy, unappreciated children to bring to the island and train. Fabio and Minette come to love and value the work they perform on the island, but of course, must face reality (and their parents) sooner or later. A very fun read aloud.
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LibraryThing member snikita
In this book the Aunts are getting older and older and need help on their secret Island where mermaids swim, seals play and big birds lay eggs enough for 70 or more omleats. The Aunts go searching for children who are responsible and are caring enough to take over the Island when the Aunts become
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older. The Parents of the two children think that their children where kidnapped. When the children see the Island they love it and work hard but there was a little boy who came with them and whined. The father of the boy finds him and sees a mermaid and becomes very greedy and wants to kidnap all of the unusual creatures. But the Children save the Island with the Great Craken. I would reccomend this book to people who like fantasy.
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LibraryThing member labfs39
What do you do when you are getting older and have no relatives to take over your life's work? Why kidnap some children, of course! So begins this fantastic tale of Dickensian children living in a Roald Dahl world. Three eccentric aunts live on a secret island and nurture the unusual creatures that
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come to them for refuge: a family of Mermaids living in sinks and tubs, a giant nesting Boobrie who must be kept fed, and an enormous hypochondriac worm who mopes about the place. When the aunts realize they won't be able to continue on alone much longer, they hatch a scheme to kidnap some children to help them in their work. Their plan succeeds, and the ocean's balance is maintained with the help of the grand Kraken. That is, until one boy's father reluctantly decides to rescue his son and make a fortune exploiting the creatures of the island.

This is the second Ibbotson book which my daughter and I have read aloud, and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. The aunts are wacky but loving, the creatures of the island are human-like in their cares, and the kidnapped children enjoy an adventure of magical proportions. For children who love animals and are concerned about the health of the environment, this book will particularly resonate and entertain. If you like [James and the Giant Peach], you will enjoy this story as well.
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LibraryThing member bridgetrwilson
Mermaids, selkies, the kracken (not the awful beast from Pirates--just a myth)--this book has it all.
LibraryThing member CareBear36
Interesting book. This is an easy read and Ibbotson's writing is very well done. The only hesitation I have about this book is its premise kind of gives me the creeps. It is about a group of women who kidnap children to help them take care of the animals on an island. The children end up enjoying
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their time on the island and don't want to women to get in trouble for kidnapping them. The whole time I was reading it, I kept getting tripped up by Stockholm Syndrome vibes. The premise was kind of creepy so I don't know if I enjoyed the book to its full extent. Again, Ibbotson writes fantastically so if you can get over the weird capture-bonding thing going on, then I would recommend this book.
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LibraryThing member nariya.rose
This is a book about three old aunts living on a secret island, who take care of the sea creatures who wash up on the shore. But they need helpers, so they find two children, Fabio and Minette. But there is a tiny little problem boy named Lewbert, and his father, who almost kills them.
I liked this
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book because it really focused on helping others. Also, the story is partly about animals. You have to read the book to learn about the more unusual island residents. It is a very good book, and that's why I gave it five stars!
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LibraryThing member Jaguar897
So far this is the 3rd story I’ve read by Eva Ibbotson, but unfortunately it’s my least favorite. It starts charmingly enough with the Aunts explaining that kidnapping is bad, but in this case it needs to be done. They need someone who will continue on with their legacy of caring for the
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magical and regular creatures that come seeking help to their far off island. Since neither of the three has children kidnapping is the only way. I know some reviewers had a problem with the kidnapping part, but I thought it was handled rather well and it did not bother me. What did bother me were some of the unexpected adult themes that were thrown in.

Looking at the book and from the description I was expecting a charming, fairy tale like story with maybe an environmental theme. The 3 quirky aunts, a mermaid and giant bird are featured on the cover, there are some funny illustrations inside and it’s what I know Ibbotson produces from reading some of her previous books. But to my surprise she threw in a mermaid with an abusive, cheating husband, another mermaid who was manhandled and possibly sexually assaulted by a Lord, villains who are strapping some serious guns and are implied to do drug runs and carry whores on their yacht and a bratty kid who smiles while “thinking about: all the people he hated lying dead in their own blood” (p. 61).

Not at all what I expected.

I don’t know what age group this is geared towards, but these themes didn’t seem appropriate for children’s literature especially one that won a literary award. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me being an “adult” or a “prude” even though I normally don’t let things like this bother me it did with this book. I felt like it could’ve been a better book if Ibbotson hadn’t thrown those things in and had concentrated more on the environmental theme of the book. Maybe children reading it will glaze over those details and get distracted by the funny illustrations, but for me I just found it jarring.

I did enjoy parts of the story though. The aunts for the most part were hilarious and quirky. I liked the illustrations. This one in particular had me laughing:

I also enjoyed the magical creatures…even the mermaids. I loved that the kraken makes an appearance and it’s not the typical mythological creature we are used to seeing. Overall, it is a creative story and I think any child or adult, for that matter, would love to visit the magical island. I’m only marking it two stars because the adult themes bothered and distracted me from the story.
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LibraryThing member bookwyrmm
A very fun middle grade fantasy reminiscent of older works.
LibraryThing member D_J_Walker
Wildly imaginative; wicked good fun from the first page, for the young and the young at heart.


Mythopoeic Awards (Finalist — Children's Literature — 2002)
Great Stone Face Book Award (Nominee — 2002)
Sasquatch Book Award (Nominee — 2003)
Nēnē Award (Nominee — 2003, 2004)
Grand Canyon Reader Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2003)




0525464840 / 9780525464846
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