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Nim's Island Paperback – February 12, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
From School Library Journal
Debbie Whitbeck, West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland, MI
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Nim Rusoe and her father don't live your ordinary life. Some people dream of a tropical island entirely of their own. Nim and her father Jack live that dream. When her mother was taken to the bottom of the ocean by a whale (all do to a tourism company's interference), Nim's father picked up his baby girl and took her to a remote isle hidden away behind deadly coral reefs. There, Nim has grown up alongside the motherly sea lion Selkie and her best iguana pal, Fred. Now her father, a scientist specializing in plankton, has gone off to find a particularly interesting strain. He'll only be gone a day or two and Nim should be safe enough on the island. Should be. Unfortunately, when Jack's boat gets delayed by a break, things start to get dangerous for Nim. Invading tourists and tropical storms and even an injury may beset our heroine, but with the help of her mighty faithful friends, our heroine is able to best each of these problems, one by one.
The book gives obvious nods to "Robinson Crusoe" and "Swiss Family Robinson", of course. So obvious, in fact, that at one point both books are literally looked at by one of the characters. When I first picked up the book I expected something more along the lines of the latter book rather than the former. Not the case. Right at the beginning we establish that the tourism company Troppo Tourists was responsible for Nim's mother's death. So in a way I expected the tourists to besiege the island for days on end once Jack took off the other way. Instead, the fooling and banishment of the tourists is a very small part of the book itself. Author Wendy Orr knows exactly how she wants this book to go, and its entirely according to her own authorial whims. Orr takes time to explain the inner-workings of the island. Where Nim gets her food. Her chores. How she gets to play. The result is that the island is a realistic place. Kids reading the book really believe that they could exist entirely on their own with sea lions, iguanas, and sea turtles for company if they really wanted to. At the same time, these descriptions aren't boring at all. They aren't drawn out or so meticulous that you find yourself snoring. Orr keeps the action and adventure going at a steady clip while at the same time never skimping on the important details. This makes for a particularly amusing story.
The characters in this book are also fun. Heroines like Nim are sometimes in danger of being too perfect to be lovable. Instead, this Nim is a fun frolicsome young gal who gets unreasonably angry and none-too-bright personal-safetywise like any other kid. Orr has anthropomorphosized Nim's animal acquaintances, but it all fits within the reality of the story. Top all this off with some rather nice pen and inks by illustrator Kerry Millard (including a lovely map of the island) and you have all the makings of a small story classic.
With its small page count (125) and exciting imaginative tale, "Nim's Island" is ideal for bookgroups or just imaginative kids who fancy getting away from it all. And hey, if they get into this, why not try a little, "Swiss Family Robinson" as a follow up? There are plenty of tales in the island-survival genre. Consider this a gateway book.