Between the World Cup games played in Manaus, Brazil, and our weekend viewing of Rio 2, set in the rainforests of the Amazon, I have been thinking a lot about a favorite read: Eva Ibbotson’s Journey to the River Sea.
In 1910, orphan Maia is sent from England to live on a rubber plantation in the Amazon with distant cousins – whose distaste for young Maia is only rivaled by their aversion to the amazing natural world around them. The Carters and their twin daughters do nothing to make Maia feel welcome, but luckily her new governess, and two new friends – Clovis, a child actor whose specialty is Little Lord Fauntleroy, and Finn, a boy who wants to stay in the Amazon with his relatives there rather than be sent off to live with his wealthy grandfather in England – help Maia on her grand adventure.
Ibbotson blends adventure, suspense, and humor in a tale that is a great read for 5th -8th grade boys or girls, and would be an excellent read aloud for younger kids, as well.
It’s a great follow-up or introduction to Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classics:
Little Lord Fauntleroy
A Little Princess (audio)
And you can keep the adventure going all summer long with other tales like:
The Wanderer by Sharon Creech
The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (audio)
The Apothecary by Maile Meloy
Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer (audio)