53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
"Swallowdale" continues very much where its predecessor, "Swallows and Amazons", leaves off, with the Walker children returning to "that remote lake in the north of England" one year after the events of the first book and looking forward to another couple of weeks of fun, sailing with their friends, the Amazon pirates. Plans quickly begin to go awry, however, and Ransome turns events away from the anticipated activity of sailing on the lake to an altogether different sort of fun, as the children take off camping and exploring in the surrounding fells and mountains.
The book has all of the fine qualities that make its predecessor such an excellent read for children (and adults) of all ages. Ransome's prose is a delight throughout, his characters engaging and the events that befall the children entirely believable. As in all of the other books of this series, simple pen and ink drawings by the author add considerably to the enjoyment. If only the world (and the Lake District!) was still like this!
Incidentally, although this was the second of Arthur Ransome's "Swallows and Amazon" books to be published, it is best read after the third volume, "Peter Duck", because it is set chronologically after the events of that book, and makes occasional back reference to it. You will enjoy "Peter Duck" much more if you read it BEFORE you read "Swallowdale". And if you enjoyed "Swallows and Amazons" you will certainly enjoy this.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2001
Small boat or dinghy sailing, camping out, excitement, nice people and strong writing: what more could a reader ask for? I first read this book at the home of a boyhood friend about ten years after it was originally published, and I count the series (this is the second of 12) as responsible for my lifelong interest in camping and sailing. More than half a century later, I acquired a set and found to my absolute delight that they read as well and are as powerfully satisfying as ever.
Here, within the covers of a very well-written book, you'll find a group of charming children and a few adults, spanning a wide range of ages and character types. Swallowdale is by turns funny, thoughtful, insightful and so well written it is a distinct pleasure for readers of any age.
Did I mention the writing? It's better written than most current novels.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 1998
Swallowdale has it all for adventurous minded children - sailing, shipwrecks, pirates, camping, exploring, caves, climbing, battles...
The Swallows (Captain John, Mate Susan, Able Seaman Titty and Boy Roger) and Amazons (Captain Nancy and Mate Peggy) meet up again along with Captain Flint and his parrot Polly to explore the mountains and lakes of the English Lake District.
Written by Arthur Ransome over 60 years ago, this is a book for grandparents, parents and children alike - a book to be passed from generation to generation.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 1997
The second and my favourite of the Swallows and Amazons series starts with a mystery. Where are the Amazons? It continues with a near disaster that threatens the Swallow's entire holiday, but a chance discovery saves the situation.
The children explore the hills of the English Lake District, have battles and meet strange but friendly "natives" all while trying to keep the Great Aunt happy.
It is a great story for children and adults which combines Ransome's characters with exciting but realistic adventures and marvellous descriptions of the English countryside and its inhabitants.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
One year after the events of "Swallows and Amazons," the four Walkers return to the Lake to spend the summer holidays, looking forward to more thrilling adventures with the Blackett sisters and their uncle, Captain Flint. To their dismay, they discover that the Blacketts' Great-Aunt--a strait-laced and somewhat tyrannical person who brought their mother and uncle up--is staying at Beckfoot and badly cramping the two pirates' style. And then the Walkers' boat "Swallow" is wrecked on the far side of the lake, forcing them to find a new camp. In dealing with these challenges the six show their mettle once again--and even manage to get away for an overnight climb of Kanchenjunga, as they christen the tallest of the nearby hills. Along the way Roger and Titty get lost when a sea-fog rolls in over the moors, and the outwitting of Great-Aunt Maria furnishes a fair share of suspense. Once again Ransome tells his tale without talking down, seeming to assume a child's viewpoint with an ease matched by few writers. Another excellent family read-aloud that should be owned by every household even if they don't care for boats or camping.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 1998
My mother, who was twelve years old in 1938, wrote a letter to Mr. Ransome telling him how much she loved his books, and asking if she could "be" Nancy, her favorite character. Mr. Ransome very kindly wrote back and bequeathed that character to her. That thought was very important to her, helping her get through some difficult times in her childhood. And her kids grew up to enjoy the books just as much. If I ever have children (or nieces & nephews) I will certainly share the books with them, too. They are fun and adventurous, and also show kids being "real," and also being independent and responsible, and able to help each other out. I wish the world could still be that way for kids.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The Swallows return to their favorite lake a year later, but things have changed slightly...the Amazons are dealing with a visit from a tyrannical great-aunt and can't go sailing with them! While sailing about on their own, the Swallows' boat experiences a wreck and their sailing adventures on the lake are in danger.
This book continues the adventures of the brave kids we first met in SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS, only they're a year older and a little nervier. The books' descriptions of camping and exploring are fun, fun, fun; I remember doing similar things as a child. The story also gives some good lessons to kids, although not in a preachy fashion...we see the importance of being calm in a crisis, and how an otherwise bad situation can be turned into a positive experience. Also, the boat-race scene at the end has a great scene of good sportsmanship, as the losers enthusiastically and sincerely congratulate the winners and compliment them on their sailing. And, as present in SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS, there is the element of using one's imagination.
The mountain-climbing scenes are good, with an unexpectedly poignant moment at the summit. The lost-in-the-fog scenes are actually quite atmospheric and memorable.
The book's main problem is that it is rather dated, but for some readers, that's part of the charm. The great-aunt's insistance on Victorian-era manners may not click too much with modern readers, although they'll probably be able to think of their elders who they see as being too old-fashioned. The book takes place in a circa 1930 England, when charcoal-burners and horse-drawn wagons were still commonplace in rural areas; some might find the setting too alien, while others may become absorbed into it.
Despite those few flaws, this is still a 5-star book in my view. Great for parents and children, and a great inspiration for outdoor adventures.
Note: This book makes references to an imaginary character, "Peter Duck," who was the subject of a sort of collective fairy tale that the group made up over the winter holiday. That story is told in the next book in the series, PETER DUCK.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2009
What more can be said than knickerbockerbreaker? This was my guide to what camping should be - we even tried it once and called our camp Swallowdale - one can always dream!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2010
At the start of this book, the Swallows sail to Wild Cat Island, looking forward the adventures they plan to have with the Amazons. So, of course, they are devastated discover that the Amazons are being kept at home by their great aunt, the G.A. The Amazons manage to escape and meet the Swallows in Horseshoe Cove, where Titty and Roger make an exciting discovery. They don't tell the rest of the group, wanting to keep it a surprise. When John's sailing skills are tested, the discovery comes in handy.
This book is one of my favorites because it has all the original characters; John, Susan, Titty, Roger, Nancy and Peggy. It is funny, as the characters begin to develop more personality. Like all the books, this book is a wonderful, delightful story.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2013
Here is another installment of the S & A series. These books were written in the 1930's and set in England's lake district. All the usual gang are present and in fine form. The books are a delight to read, I read them as a child, I read them to my children, now I am re reading them again, a delight from a simpler, safer time, with few boundaries, please take the time to read all the books.
ps. follow the link at the end of the book to the Arthur Ransome Trust web site and explore the site.enjoy