Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson

Journey to the River Sea

Written by Eva Ibbotson

9+ readers   11+ readers   
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A special 15th anniversary edition of this award-winning classic adventure from Eva Ibbotson in which orphaned Maia travels from England to the Amazon with her governess.

August 2013 Guest Editor, Lauren St John "To me, Eva Ibbotsen is a genius. You can pick up any of her books – The Dragonfly Pool and One Boy and His Dog are also fantastic – and be guaranteed a good read. Journey to the River Sea is about orphaned London schoolgirl, Maia, who, accompanied by her strict but kind governess, is sent to live with her ghastly relatives in South America. Unlike her nature-phobic relatives, Maia loves her exotic, colourful new world. This is a journey of the spirit as well as the globe and the way Maia unfurls like a flower with each new adventure and encounter is one of the many reasons Journey to the River Sea is a classic. A warm, joyous book to be enjoyed by any generation."

Chosen by Anne Fine as one of her favourite reads... 'A charming and magical adventure story that is full of wisdom, warmth and understanding. Orphaned Maia is sent off to stay with her relatives far, far away in the heart of the Amazon jungle. She’s excited by the prospect of living such an inspiring place but soon finds that life with her twin cousins Gwendolyn and Beatrice is torture.'


Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson

It is 1910 and Maia, tragically orphaned at thirteen, has been sent from England to start a new life with distant relatives in Manaus, hundreds of miles up the Amazon. She is accompanied by an eccentric and mysterious governess who has secret reasons of her own for making the journey. Both soon discover an exotic world bursting with new experiences in Journey to the River Sea, Eva Ibbotson's highly colourful, joyous adventure.

A note from the author.... ‘I had always wanted to write a straight adventure story, but the kind where the adventures were about travelling and finding new ways to live and not being eaten by crocodiles (which is sad but probably not very interesting). Maia, the heroine, is exactly the sort of person I wanted to be but wasn't: brave and resourceful but also sensitive and kind.’

***Eva's son, Toby Ibbotson, is now continuing the tradition of storytelling with his novel Mountwood School for Ghosts which is based on an original idea by Eva Ibbotson.


'Bubbly and fantastical... driven by humour and warmth, Journey To The River Sea has an irresistible charm.' Guardian

'Funny, wise and true.' Philip Pullman

About the Author

Eva Ibbotson

Born in Vienna, Eva Ibbotson came to England as a small girl. She spent much of her adult life in Newcastle upon Tyne. When her husband was alive he bred snails in the garage; they also kept fish and had a small and very hairy dog. Eva had four grown-up children and seven grandchildren. She wrote for both adults and children. Which Witch was runner-up for the Carnegie Medal and The Secret of Platform 13 was shortlisted for the Smarties Prize. Journey to the River Sea won the Smarties Book Prize Gold Award, was runner-up for the Whitbread Children's Book of the Year and the Guardian Fiction Award, and was also shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal.

Eva's books for older readers (12+) include: The Morning Gift, A Song for Summer, The Secret Countess, A Company of Swans and Magic Flutes. Her books for younger readers (9+) include: The Dragonfly Pool, Journey to the River Sea and The Star of Kazan.

And for even younger readers (7+): Which Witch, Dial a Ghost, Not just a Witch, Monster Mission, The Beasts of Clawstone Castle, The secret of Platform 13, The Great Ghost rescue and The Haunting of Hiram.

Eva's final novel that she completed prior to her death at the age of 85 in 2010 is called One Dog and his Boy.

Eva Ibbotson on writing:
"I started to scribble stories when I was about seven years old and I just carried on so I became a writer gradually. I didn't try to get anything published until I was quite grown-up. I write at my mother's old desk, looking out on to a leafy street, and I rewrite what I have written again and again until I get the words the way I want them (most of my pages have been through eight drafts or so). It's my belief that one should be in the same place each day, so that if an idea is hovering it knows where to find you. Ideas can come from places one has seen or conversations one has overheard - or just from nowhere! Being an author can be lonely, difficult and frustrating, but there is nothing else I'd rather be."

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Book Info


320 pages
Interest Age: From 9


Eva Ibbotson
More books by Eva Ibbotson


Macmillan Children's Books an imprint of Pan Macmillan

Publication date

25th August 2016




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