This book is about a girl called Maia who has been in an Academy half her life. When her headmaster tells her that she is to go to her uncle that she never really knew, Mr Carter, she hates the thought of leaving her friends. But when he mentions that he lives in the Amazon near the Amazon river she gets excited. She hears that there are twins, Beatrice and Gwendoline, she can't wait to leave. She heads off to Mr Carters house with her governess Miss Minton.
When she arrives at the house she sees it isn't a bit like she imagined. There are no plants because the family says they give away the bad germs of the Indians. Her life gets worse and worse, she has to learn terribly tedious Dr Bullman books, early in the morning Mrs Carter is spraying insect spray around the house and when it's Maia's turn to play the piano Mr and Mrs Carter have a headache.