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The Swiss Family Robinson (Everyman's Library Children's Classics)

414 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0679436409
ISBN-10: 0679436405
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The Swiss Family Robinson (Everyman's Library Children's Classics) + Classic Starts™: Treasure Island (Classic Starts™ Series) + The Adventures of Robin Hood (Classic Starts)
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-5-- It goes without saying that, in the process of condensing and rewriting these books down to a fourth-grade reading level, most of the distinguished aspects of the works--writing style, language, atmosphere, characterization--have been sacrificed for a simple, not to say simplistic, master-plots approach that conveys the incidents but fails to impart the justification for their continuing endurance in the canon of juvenile literature. The books are illustrated with some attention paid to the sense of the plots and characters. For those who persist in the fallacy that knowing what the so-called "classics" of children's literature are about is a satisfactory substitution for actually experiencing them by reading the original, this series is acceptable. For the rest of us, it's as if someone's painted a guppy white and called it Moby Dick. --Christine Behrmann, New York Public Library
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

This new series of Illustrated Chosen Classics is a collection of the world's most famous stories, especially retold for children. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Series: Everyman's Library Children's Classics
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman's Library (September 27, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679436405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679436409
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (414 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #755,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

147 of 149 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Balbach on May 21, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Swiss Family Robinson was initially written in German by Swiss author Johann Wyss in 1812, and then soon after an accurate English translation was completed by William Godwin in 1816. The Godwin translation remained the standard in English for a generation or two, but by the mid-19th century the number and variety of English translations began to multiply - there were no enforceable copyright laws and translators freely added episodes, changed names (and even genders) of some of the characters and cut portions of the text to conform to changing views on education and aesthetic tastes. There are probably over a dozen such variations and most who read the novel today are not reading the original (the 2007 Penguin Classics edition, edited by John Seelye, is the 1816 Godwin translation, which is the closest to the original). I have now read two: William Kingston's 1879 adaptation (one of the more common adaptations) and Godwin, and I believe the original translation of Wyss by Godwin is better. It's not abridged like most later versions so certain scenes just make more sense - for example some of the characters are more dynamic, like Ernest shows himself to be a capable bloodthirsty killer like his brothers (a scene cut from later editions to maintain his "bookish" nature) - and the theories on education are classic Rousseauian (he is mentioned twice in the narrative).

This isn't your childhood Swiss family.
Read more ›
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116 of 123 people found the following review helpful By Kiwi on July 21, 2010
Check the publisher very carefully before you buy "Swiss Family Robinson." One of the versions available, published by General Books LLC, has reviews associated with completely different imprints of the book from genuine publishers.

Be warned that the contents of the version of Swiss Family Robinson published by General Books LLC is completely unedited garbage. Also be warned that when you do the "Look Inside," you're not looking at the General Books LLC version, you're looking at an image of the book from a genuine publisher that actually edits and checks their work. And the reason is....

General Books LLC puts together books using an OCR automated scanning device which misses complete pages. There are numerous Typos and there's no table of contents. There is ABSOLUTELY NO EDITING of any kind done to the book, and the scanning is done by a robot (which the publishers website says can miss pages).

This is all stated on the publishers web site (google them and read - you'll be as stunned as I was when you get all the details). The Almost every review of books published by General Books LLC (around 500,000 of them from one imprint or another now listed on Amazon) by buyers is negative, many are extremely so.

If you have bought the version from General Books LLC by mistake, you can return to Amazon within 30 days(but check Amazon's Return Policy for the details) .

Personally, I always liked Swiss Family Robinson, my one star review is for the General Books LLC version.
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78 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Robert L. Huggins on December 7, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The story is, of course, a classic! I doubt many would finish reading it in these days given how dated the language and story line feel. My one-star rating is solely due to the fact that this particular version is incomplete. The missing pages have a profound impact on enjoying / gaining a full understanding of the story. I feel the version description should mention the missing text!
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Fancy Nancy VINE VOICE on July 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought three of the Classic Start books, Swiss Family Robinson being one. After reading all three (SFR, Treasure Island, and Tom Sawyer) with my young child (age 6) I was so disappointed at the lack of "meat" in the story, the prose so altered because so much of it was simply deleted that the stories -- in all three cases -- were very flat. I bought these books to read to my child because of the excellence in writing of the originals. In the "Retold" versions in the Classic Start Series, there is no breadth of vocabulary, it being so watered down that it left me sorry I had spent the money. To shorten the stories, so many details are left out that the stories just aren't the same and much of the meatier vocabulary is gone.

If your intent is to widen your child's vocabulary by exposing them to good writing and lyrical prose, do not opt for the "retold," condensed versions of these classic stories. Get the originals and read every word. They will get the meaning from the context and will be enriched. I cannot say the same for the Classic Start Series.

I suppose they serve a purpose and that because of the price point there will be children who will hear the stories that otherwise might not. For that point alone I gave the two stars.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By USAF Veteran VINE VOICE on October 8, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I rarely give 5 star reviews but this 200 year old book deserves it. It is well-written, well-paced, full of adventure, and is a wonderful book on man's interactions with nature and the environment.

A shipwreck strands a family headed for the new world with nothing but the ship's supplies and each other on a desert isle. Through hard work and knowledge of the natural world, they are able to not just survive, but thrive on the island. There is no better adventure in the natural world survival story.

This book is so good and so well-regarded that there have been multiple schmaltzy movie versions over the years. DON'T SEE THEM UNTIL YOU READ THE BOOK! The writing moves well and the plot line includes plenty of excitement. Although this book is 200 years old, the author wrote it as an action book and it does not drag like other works of the time like "Last of the Mohicans" or "Robinson Crusoe". Robinson Crusoe is another famous survival story written prior to this book, but it suffers from being a morality play with little action and long descriptive sections that are frankly boring. The Swiss Family Robinson is a much better book.

This is a particularly clean book also and is perfect for younger readers as well. Highly recommended.
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