Aunt Etta, Aunt Coral and Aunt Myrtle are getting old and can no longer keep up with all of the magical creatures of the island like they used to - after all, mermaids, selkies, and boobries take a lot of work. However, they know that they cannot trust other adults to take care of the island the way they do so they decide that they need some children. There is only one problem - they don't have any children to train.
The aunts decide that the only way is to resort to kidnapping. After all, some children just plain need to be kidnapped. So the aunts set of to mainland England and start sorting through children. They quickly learn that most children are horrible, nasty, selfish creatures who don't know how to work at all. The aunts are ready to give up when they discover Minette and Fabio, two children who are clever, hard workers, and, most especially, underappreciated at home. Aunt Etta and Aunt Coral arrive back at the island, having successfully kidnapped their likely candidates and are quickly followed by Aunt Myrtle, who panicked and kidnapped a totally unsuitable monster of a boy. What happens next on the island will surprise and delight young readers as amazing and wondrous events take place...
This is an absolutely enchanting fantasy book for children. It is always fun to hear about normal people triumphing over great odds, and even more fun when those normal people happen to be normal children doing extraordinary things. Eva Ibbotson has a very nice, easy writing style that is quite simple and makes everything easy to understand. She is very attentive to her audience and always introduces new creatures with a bit of background information so that everyone is clear on what her view of a selkie/mermaid/boobrie/kraken/etc is. The type font is larger than usual and so perfectly suited to younger children. I think that this book is a marvelous option for those younger readers who are not quite ready to dive into Harry Potter. Although The Island of the Aunts deals with some serious subjects, Ibbotson treats them in such a way that they are very light and nonthreatening. A perfect book to read with your children or to offer to an older child as a longer alternative for their own reading time.
This report prepared by Debbie