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Last updateJue, 03 Ago 2017 3pm

Eva Ibbotson

“Well, dear, it's true that adventures are good for people even when they are very young. Adventures can get into a person's blood even if he doesn't remember having them.” ― Eva Ibbotson

Biography

She was born in Vienna in 1925 and moved to England with her father when the Nazis came into power. Ibbotson wrote more than twenty books for children and young adults, many of which garnered nominations for major awards for children's literature in the UK, including the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize and the Whitbread Prize. Eva's critically acclaimed Journey to the River Sea won the Smarties Gold Medal in 2001. Set in the Amazon, it was written in honour of her deceased husband Alan, a former naturalist. Imaginative and humorous, Eva's books often convey her love of nature, in particular the Austrian countryside, which is evident in works such as The Star Of Kazan and A Song For Summer. Eva passed away at her home in Newcastle on October 20th 2010. Her final book, One Boy and His Dog, was published in May 2011.

Her books

The book follows the adventures of Maia, a young orphan, who is sent by her guardian to live with distant cousins on the banks of the Amazon, near Manaus in Brazil.  Her vision of a new life experiencing the sights, smells and sounds of the rainforest is dashed when she discovers that her relatives have no wish to integrate with the local environment and spend their days locked in their sterile house, keeping bugs and germs at bay. Through her relationship with her more adventurous English governess and the son of a deceased naturalist, she gradually begins to explore her surroundings and passions. In the final chapters she reluctantly returns to England and her former school … or is there a further twist? This exciting adventure explores the theme of new beginnings and the fear and anticipation of the unknown, as well as inviting the reader to share in the strange but exciting world of the Amazon rainforest.  Eva Ibbotson wrote ‘Journey’ following the death of her naturalist husband and the book is an affectionate tribute to his memory.

Reference: Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson

Is a collection of short, quirky stories, which are presented as fables or fairy-tales. Each have a moral message, with warnings about being rude, arrogant and disobedient. There are a series of unusual, but mostly harmless punishments for the perpetrators. For example, an arrogant dog goes against the warnings of others about respecting the frid's property, her punishment is that she is swallowed by a rock-like creature and spat out with no hair, humbling her.

Reference: Let Sleeping Sea-Monsters Lie

The story follows an ad hoc group of would-be ogre-slayers—a tree-loving troll, a doubtful wizard, an elderly hag and an orphan boy—as they venture to the dreaded wilds of Oglefort. They have been sent on this mission by the three Fates, who instruct them to rescue the lovely Princess Mirella from the ogre and put him to the sword. Perhaps it was Ms. Ibbotson's own old age that inspired her to imagine the Fates as ancient, cantankerous beings, tended by a phalanx of nurses, who must be shot full of serum in order to remember, exactly, what orders they are giving. At any rate, it helps the story along not only that the Fates begin with one wrong impression—that the ogre of Oglefort, a pacific fellow, means harm toward Princess Mirella—but that they end with another, that the ogre is dead (he isn't; he is on a cruise). Beneath Ms. Ibbotson's humor there is an undertow of gentle melancholy: Almost all her characters here suffer initially from the weight of others' expectations, but of course that only makes their happiness the more radiant when, by story's end, each has found his own bliss.

Reference: In Brief: Children's Literature

Susanna Weber is renowned for producing the most elegant, exquisite couture in Vienna. As all of fashionable society passes through her fitting room, Susanna touches numerous lives as matchmaker, comforter, confidente and passionate lover.

From the impoverished yet proud Countess von Metz, to Nini the volatile Hungarian anarchist; from Sigismund Kraszinsky, the young musical prodigy, to Susanna's hidden lover himself, Eva Ibbotson conjures up a perfect miniature of a vanished society. But while the world hurtles towards war, the secrets and sorrows which lie behind Susanna's bewitching charm emerge as she and her friends live out the last, glittering days of Imperial Vienna in the idyllic surroundings of Madensky Square.

Reference: Madensky Square

Watch this adorable video about a review of Journey to the River Sea made by Stacey Neil

 

 

 

 

 

 

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