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Kidnapped (Bullseye Step Into Classics) Turtleback – March, 1994

4.1 out of 5 stars 268 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the David Balfour Series

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Turtleback, March, 1994
$25.00 $215.00
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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6 Up-Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson remains one of the classic coming-of-age stories for children and young adults today. After the death of his father, David Balfour sets out to meet his uncle and claim his inheritance. This adventure takes him through the highlands of Scotland where he embarks upon a long journey back from treachery and deceit. The reading by David Rintoul, whose voice is easily recognizable from his roles in several PBS productions such as Pride and Prejudice, translates the written word into an auditory landscape of Scotland. He interprets each character using several voices. As the story progresses, listeners can hear David changing from an uncertain and hesitant youth, to the assured and forthright young man he becomes at the conclusion. Without any special effects, the fight among the crew of the Coventry in the RoundhouseAchairs pushed over, the sounds of the sea hitting against the great shipAbecomes easily visualized. the reader's skill setting the stage and showing the growth of the character is phenomenal. While this is an abridgement, the story flows easily and gives a full picture from beginning to end. This audiobook is a wonderful way to introduce this style of literature to young readers who may feel inhibited by reading the language of Stevenson. Whether read for enjoyment or to enrich the learning experience, this is a must for every serious library collection of the classics.
Tina Hudak, Takoma Park Maryland Library, MD
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Editor Menikoff insists that Stevenson's novel has been unfairly relegated to young adult fiction. To remedy that, he restored the text to its original form, reinstating deleted passages and Stevenson's original punctuation. The text is buttressed with 19th-century drawings from the book's serializations and an introduction that explains the book's nexus and puts it into its Scottish cultural context. (Classic Returns, LJ 5/15/99)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Bullseye Step Into Classics
  • Turtleback: 102 pages
  • Publisher: Demco Media (March 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0606095136
  • ISBN-13: 978-0606095136
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (268 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,431,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T. Simons VINE VOICE on August 24, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Originally written as a boy's adventure novel, modern readers will probably consider it more a book for adults. My father gave it to me when I was eight, after I'd read _Treasure Island_, and I disliked it then immensely, put off by the lack of plot movement, the Scots dialect, and the total absence of pirates. Re-reading it now on the Kindle, I admit it's a lot more enjoyable, partly because the Kindle's dictionary helps translate some of the Scots dialect, partly because I'm a more mature reader.

The plot is fairly straightforward (skip this paragraph if you want to avoid spoilers): Our Hero, David Balfour, is tricked out of his rightful inheritance by an evil uncle, shanghaied, shipwrecked, partnered with a historical figure (one Alan Breck Stewart) and caught up in the events of an unsolved historical mystery (the "Appin Murder"). The body of the novel is a day-by-day description of their flight through the Scottish highlands, on the run from the Redcoat troops searching them out.

Overall, the novel succeeds in creating some degree of tension and suspense, especially in the first half or so, with some classic melodrama elements. The latter half of the novel drags a bit, though, and would probably be less appealing to younger readers and more enjoyable for readers more interested in Stevenson's prose style. There is a great deal of Scots dialect, but the most obscure words are footnoted and some (but not all) of the less-obscure words are in the Kindle's dictionary.

Overall, I'd recommend this highly to a fan of books like Sir Walter Scott's _Waverly_ or _Rob Roy_, or to anyone who had a particular love of historical fiction set in the 18th-century scottish highlands.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was surprised to see some reviewers didn't like this wonderful book. If you have trouble with the Scottish accent, read it out loud, use your imagination, and if you still can't figure it out, skip a bit. (Do you insist on understanding every single word spoken in a movie?)

This is the story of a young man overcoming adversity to gain maturity and his birthright. It moves right along, in Stevenson's beautiful prose. Read, for example, this sentence from Chapter 12: "In those days, so close on the back of the great rebellion, it was needful a man should know what he was doing when he went upon the heather." Read it out loud; it rolls along, carrying the reader back to Scotland, even a reader like me, who doesn't know all that much about Scottish history. Kidnapped is by no means inferior, and in many ways superior to the more famous Treasure Island.

Only two points I would like to bring up: I bought the Penguin Popular Classics issue, and have sort of mixed feelings. Maybe some day I'll get the version illustrated by Wyeth. I'm not sure whether this book needs illustrations, though. Stevenson's vivid writing is full of pictures.

In Chapter 4, David makes a point of saying that he found a book given by his father to his uncle on Ebenezer's fifth birthday. So? Is this supposed to show how much Ebenezer aged due to his wickedness? If anybody could explain this to me, please do.
This was originally posted in 2000. I am updating it in June 2006: many thanks to alert reader Beth Smith, who very kindly informed me that the significance is that David's father was older than the uncle. Therefore the father, and now David, was the rightful owner of the estate of Shaws.
Ok, gotcha, clear now, and I'll reread it. Thanks to Ms Smith, and to Amazon for this forum.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I missed this one as a kid, which is too bad, because I think I would have appreciated it then as well. Set following the failed Scottish rebellion, 'Kidnapped' tells the story of young David Balfour, whose greedy uncle tries to cheat him out of his inheritance by having him kidnapped and sold in the American colonies as a slave. On the way, however, he befriends a Jacobite rebel and is instead caught up in the Scottish troubles and has to fight his way back to his home and claim his inheritance. The adventure is all the more exciting because it feels like such a real world with all the careful place-related detail Stevenson employs. While the language can be difficult in places, that quickly fades once you get into the rhythm of the book.
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Format: Hardcover
It's true that this sequel to "Kidnapped" takes a very different direction from the original story. In fact, Alan Breck Stewart (everyone's favorite character) makes only a few (albeit quite entertaining) appearances, and most of the story focuses on David Balfour's lone adventures and, in the second half of the book, his rather botched wooing of Catriona, a lovely Scottish lass (to say more would give away the story).
I must admit that "Kidnapped" is my favorite book of all time, so I am somewhat prejudiced toward liking "David Balfour" no matter what its faults. However, the truth of the matter is that this is really quite a good book in its own right. It would not have been disappointing to anyone except for the fact that it happens to be a sequel to "Kidnapped," and people (fairly enough, I suppose) expect another rousing adventure story, which "David Balfour" is not.
Some aspects of the two books are very similar. Stevenson used quite a bit of dialect in the "Kidnapped," so it should come as a surprise to no one that he does the same in "David Balfour" (although there may be a little more broad Scotch). Also, David's and Alan's characters are quite true to the original characterizations, I think.
The part of the story that people seem to object to most is the love story between David and Catriona. I admit it, the main problem is that Catriona is a rather flat character, and as such does not keep the reader's interest (or sympathy) very well. That being said, most of the book (and especially the last 20 pages, which I liked very much) is quite entertaining. I have read better love stories and better adventure stories, but "David Balfour" isn't bad for a love story sequel to an adventure story.
Finally, a word about the illustrations in this edition. They are by N.C.
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