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Nim's Island


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About the Author

Wendy Orr wrote her very first draft of Nim's Island at age nine. An action-packed sequel, Nim at Sea, brings Nim to an even bigger island, when the intrepid island girl stows away on a cruise ship bound for Manhattan. Wendy Orr is also the author of Peeling the Onion, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults.


Orr (Peeling the Onion) blithely throws credibility to the wind and inventively tweaks coincidence to create a fantasy tale as welcome as a breath of fresh tropical air. Ever since her mother died when Nim was a baby, the girl and Jack, her scientist father, have lived on a remote island. When Jack sails off on a three-day trip to collect plankton, Nim stays behind with her three best friends: a sea lion, a marine iguana and a green sea turtle. But a storm disables Jack's boat, and Nim remains alone for a full two weeks, in contact with her father only through notes delivered by a frigate bird. As the author describes the girl's daily routine of foraging for food, doing chores and playing with her pals, she neatly slips into her narrative slivers of information about the tropical habitat (e.g., Chica the sea turtle returns each year to lay her eggs on Nim's island, where Chica was hatched). A story within a story emerges as Nim strikes up an e-mail correspondence with an author who begins writing an adventure novel set on an island that looks exactly like Nim's. With ample doses of suspense and comedy, and a pleasingly sappy happily-ever-after ending, the tale portrays the improbable so cleverly that readers will want to believe everything about the likable Nim and her idyllic isle. Pen-and-ink drawings that resemble Quentin Blake's bring these enchanting characters and setting to life. Ages 9-12. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Gr 2-5-Nim lives on the most beautiful island in the world (its location is a closely guarded secret) with a marine iguana, a sea lion, and her scientist dad, Jack. When he goes off to explore the world of plankton, the child occupies herself with typical Swiss Family Robinson-like chores and keeping her dad's batteries charged so she can check his e-mail on the laptop computer. When his boat becomes disabled, Nim's link to humanity becomes Alex Rover, the author of the novel she's reading, who has e-mailed Jack with some scientific questions. They correspond frequently, Nim giving Alex advice on building a raft out of coconuts, and Alex uncannily picturing spots on the island in her current book. A violent storm and volcanic eruption toward the end result in Nim saving the day, and the three characters set up life together on their paradise. And all of this occurs amid a clever plan to divert evil tourists from ever finding the island. If readers can suspend belief long enough to accept this plot, they will have a great time with this modern survival/adventure story. Children will love this unshakable, strong female character and the zany things that happen to her. They'll also enjoy the way adults seem to bungle everything. There are plenty of sketches to add visuals to this wild tale, which never loses its momentum. Teachers can springboard many geographic or scientific studies off this novel as they read it aloud, but kids can just enjoy the fun.-Debbie Whitbeck, West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland, MI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

"There is real humor and a gentle magic in Nim's Island which will easily make it a favorite for children--and their parents! One not to miss." -- Cairns Post (Australia).

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