Skip to main content

Night Birds of Nantucket by Jona Aiken

2014, first published 1960 

Dido Twite has been shipwrecked but is picked up by a whaling boat.  She sleeps for ten months and  finds herself far away from her home in England whens she wakes, on her way to Nantucket. 

During her continued voyage and a brief stay on Nantucket she befriends the captain’s daughter, unravels a mystery and helps the captain consolidate his relationship with the pink whale. She eventually gets her passage home. 

Dido comes across as a feisty character. She prefers dressing as a boy – denim trousers and cotton shorts are more comfortable than frilly dresses.   She speaks not quite standard English but Joan Aiken does not overload us with dialect.  There is just enough to give her a personality. The words do not hide their meaning.  

The story is full of twists and turns. Some of the characters are larger than life. This novel is perhaps a forerunner of the Lemony Snicket novels except that this one does have a happy ending.
The book is just over 200 pages long.  It is formatted in blocked text and in an adult font.  There are a few line-drawings which illustrate the text.   


Popular Posts

The Wierdstone of Brisingamen

Princess BMX by Marie Basting

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

The Devil's Angel by Kevin Brooks


Hilary McKay’s Fairy Tales

2017, fluent reader, Key Stage 2, ages 9-11, upper primary
Here are some familiar fairy stories though the titles may fool you: Rapunzel becomes The Tower and the Bird, Rumpelstiltskin becomesStraw into Gold, and Cinderella is Roses Around the Palace. We are also offered some rather interesting details about some well-known stories. The mayor of the town with the rats tells us how the children who replaced the lost ones were much more amenable than the ones who were piped away. A young girl has a sliver of the looking-glass that once belonged to a wicked queen.Whilst the girl has chickenpox her grandmother tells her Snow White’s story. It is true she assures her granddaughter. How does she know? Because she is Snow White. Hansel and Gretel tell the story of what they did in their holidays.
There is perhaps an assumption that the reader will be familiar with the original stories. Certainly they are amusing and not just for the young reader.Adults can enjoy them too. 
This is quite a …