Title: The Complete Adventures on Nim’s Island
Author: Wendy Orr
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
Published: 28th April 2020
Synopsis: All three Nim novels – Nim’s Island, Nim at Sea and Rescue on Nim’s Island – collected in one edition to celebrate the 21st Anniversary of the original publication of Nim’s Island.
In a palm tree, on an island, in the middle of the wide blue sea, was a girl.
Nim’s hair was wild, her eyes were bright, and around her neck she wore three cords. One was for a spyglass, one for a whorly, whistling shell, and one for a fat red pocketknife in a sheath.
Nim lives on an island in the middle of the wide blue sea, with her father, Jack, as well as a marine iguana called Fred, a sea lion called Selkie, a turtle called Chica and a satellite dish for her email. No one else lives quite like Nim, and she wouldn’t swap places with anyone.
In Nim’s Island, when Jack disappears in his sailing boat and disaster threatens her home, Nim must be braver than she’s ever been before. And she needs help from her friends old and new. This book was adapted as a major motion picture starring Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine).
In Nim at Sea, Nim’s new friend Alex Rover flies away without saying goodbye, and Selkie the sea lion is captured by villains from a cruise ship. Nim must risk everything to bring them back. A second major motion picture was inspired by this story, and screened as Return to Nim’s Island, starring Bindi Irwin.
In Rescue on Nim’s Island, Nim unearths an amazing fossil, but this discovery puts her island in terrible danger. Nim must choose between saving a natural treasure and saving someone’s life.
We first meet Nim as she watches the Troppo Tourist boat from her tree on the island she lives on with her father, Jack. Nim’s mother went missing while investigating the stomach of a blue whale when Nim was a baby, and father and daughter have lived on the island for many years. But with Jack missing, Nim reaches out to her favourite novelist, Alex Rover – who is not adventurous at all.
This is a delightful book, filled with fun, and animals and curiosity. Nim is a delightful character, and just as one might imagine her to be. She knows nothing but her life on the island, yet that doesn’t quench her curiosity. This book lovingly introduces readers to the island and the characters. I felt the island was the kind of island that could be found anywhere in the world, and at times, found myself imagining some of the islands off Australia as Nim’s home.
When Alex arrives, things get interesting, and the novel cleverly explores Nim, Alex and Jack in simple yet effective ways when the perspective is changed, and this provides a more well-rounded story, though the majority of it belongs to Nim. The light-hearted mystery and search is wonderful for middle grade readers, and should be perfect for children who don’t like scary things. It has a great sense of humour. This is a perfect sequel, and I loved that it wasn’t too scary but had enough worry within the plot to feed the action and the story, and move the plot along at a really good pace.
In the second book, Alex has flown away and Nim finds herself trapped on the Troppo Tourist boat as she searches for Selkie, who has been kidnapped. Nim must band together with her new friends to rescue Selkie, find Alex, and get back to her island. But to do so, Nim must outsmart the Professor. This delightful follow-on from the first book takes place soon after those events, and is a other light-hearted adventure – with a sinister character in it, yet told in a way that much like the first book, is fun and not overly scary for younger readers. The story is full pf hope that Nim will rescue Selkie and find Alex and is an adventure that is lots of fun to go on.
Finally, in Rescue on Nim’s Island, Nim and her new friends must find a way to protect the beauty of the island from evil scientists who have a habit of destroying things and taking credit for the work of others. Can Nim and her new friends save the island? Again, it was paced well, with a few scarier of worrying moments but not enough that it will terrify younger readers. These moments moved the plot along and the characters and readers are allowed to be worried and scared – they do not have to hide it. After all, they are just children. Clever children who know exactly how they can save each other and the island.
Each novel cleverly follows on from each other – and they are tied together not only by characters and story arcs, but by the opening lines, about Nim with her spyglass. These alter slightly in each one after we’re initially introduced to Nim. This gives a sense of connection and familiarity for readers. Each story also follows on from the other yet gives a brief recount of what has come before, so can be read one after the other or individually, though I think it will be lots more fun to read them all as a series. This was my first time reading Nim – and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There is something magical about someone like Nim and her life, and it was such a joy to read this. I have seen the movie with Abigail Breslin – and found out after seeing it that it was a book first – as has happened with several movies. Often the movies change or take things out – yet with this one, the book and movie felt fairly close to each other. I am planning on watching the movie again as well.
The overall narrative arc is mainly Nim’s adventures on the island – with everything else in the plot moving along so she can have her fun and play with her animal friends. It is one that was enjoyable and fun to escape into, and is a really great read for all ages – kids’ books shouldn’t have an age limit! If you’re like me, and enjoy them, go for it and read them! Wendy Orr has created such a fun and creative world – with a light look at what it means to care for the environment and grapples with right and wrong in each of her books, and how people each face challenges very differently.
This is a delightful little series, and I hope Nim finds a new legion of fans through this 21st anniversary edition.