Journey to the River Sea

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Journey to the River Sea Eva Ibbotson, book reviewThis book by the Austrian born British author was published in 2001 and was since reissued with a foreword by Michael Mopurgo. ‘River Sea’ is the name the Indians who live in Brazil give to the broad Amazon and the book tells the story of the orphan Maia who sets out with her governess to find shelter with relatives who live in Brazil. Maia is very hopeful that they will be nice but, like many of Ibbotson’s adopted families, they turn out to be sadistic and in it only for the money. They also hate the rain forest and stay indoors with a tin of Flit, swatting any kind of insect life that comes their way.

Deprived of any family affection, Maia is lucky enough to make friends with the Indians and discover a lost English boy disguised as an India. In Journey to the River Sea Ibbotson reaffirms her belief that for a child, friends can prove a stronger support service than cold families. She also unconventionally suggests that travel can sometimes be the best education.

Ibbotson has a strong sense of place evident in her descriptions of Manaus and the rainforest, or the halls of Westwood that seem to be crying out for a scary ghost, written with a simplicity that children can relate to – something that Mopurgo also comments on in his Foreword. Journey to the River Sea is more in the style of a Little Lord Fauntleroy at one level without the weepiness at the sentiment. At another, it lacks the surprise element inherent in Dial a Ghost – much of Journey to the River Sea is expected, though always charming.


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Journey to the River Sea
by Eva Ibbotson

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Written by Anjana Basu
Anjana Basu

Anjana Basu works as an advertising consultant in Calcutta. In 2003, Harper Collins India brought out her novel Curses In Ivory. In 2004, she was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship in Scotland where she worked on her second novel, Black Tongue, published by Roli in 2007. In February 2010. her children's novel Chinku and the Wolfboy was brought out by Roli. She writes features for travel magazines and reviews for Indian newspapers.

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