- Series: Penguin Classics
- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (April 29, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141439823
- ISBN-13: 978-0141439822
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (560 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Robinson Crusoe (Penguin Classics) Reissue Edition
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From School Library Journal
Grade 3-6-As with any abridged version, the story is spare, but what it loses in prose, it gains in readability. The easy-to-understand text keeps some of the flavor of the original, but in condensing 27 chapters and more than 300 pages of narrative to 50-plus pages with half as many chapters, much of the long-winded description has been eliminated. However, the modernized spelling, added dialogue, shortened expository passages, large type, and emphasis on fast-paced storytelling will make this classic accessible to a younger audience. The story ends abruptly with Robinson Crusoe's return to England. None of the adventures after his arrival in his homeland-the discovery of riches at his Brazilian plantation, Friday's encounter with the bear, or the attack by ravenous wolves on the trek to France-are included. Nevertheless, the bare-bones telling, combined with more than a dozen of Wyeth's lavish oil paintings (which originally graced the 1920 edition), makes this a worthwhile purchase.
Laurie Edwards, West Shore School District, Camp Hill, PA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
One of the first novels ever written, Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (1719), the classic adventure story of a man marooned on an island for nearly 30 years, is part of our culture. From Scott O'Dell's Island of the Blue Dolphins (1960) to the recent movie Castaway, the elemental situation of the person suddenly alone, who must make a life in a dangerous environment, continues to enthrall all ages. Yet few adults, never mind young people, can wade through Defoe's lengthy tome with its convoluted eighteenth-century prose. So here's a shortened storybook version--retold by Timothy Meis in accessible style, yet true to the spirit of the original and the time when it was first published--in a large picture-book format with clear type, high-quality paper, and more than a dozen unforgettable narrative paintings by Wyeth, first published in 1920 and newly reproduced here in glowing color.
The story begins with the universal quest: the young man in Britain, torn between his safe home and his hunger for adventure, breaks away from his loving father and sails away into the unknown. After a series of harrowing escapes, he's shipwrecked on a desert island. His lively first-person account shows how his intelligence and education help him survive for many years, and how he uses technology, including guns and tools salvaged from the ship. He sets up home, reads the Bible, finds a parrot as a pet, and even devises a calendar to keep track of time. Then one day he finds a human footprint: "Was it someone who could save me and take me back to civilization? Or was it a savage who landed here?" When some "savages" arrive in several canoes, he uses his guns to get rid of them, and he rescues one of their captives, a handsome fellow with very dark skin. Delighted to have a companion at last, Crusoe names the newcomer Friday (since Crusoe found him on Friday). Crusoe teaches "my man Friday" to speak English, fire a gun, carve a canoe, and clothe his nakedness, and they live happily together. Later they rescue a white man and Friday's father from a group of "savages," and, eventually, they all return to their homes.
Defoe is said to have based his novel on the true adventures of Alexander Selkirk (who spent four or five years on an island in the South Pacific) and on accounts of other castaways of the time. The survival adventure is still enthralling. But what about the racism? This is clearly the classic colonialist story, but whose history is it? And how will young people read it today? Is it just boring, politically correct nitpicking to object to the use of the word "savages" throughout the book and even on the book flap? Yes, there are some bad guys among the whites, but even they are called "men"; the dark-skinned people are always known as "savages." How do we talk about this story today? The guns and tools make Crusoe boss, but wouldn't Friday have been able to teach the newcomer some survival skills? Does it never occur to Crusoe to learn Friday's own name and language? Who discovered whom? Wyeth's clear, action-packed illustrations are magnificent. But there's one shockingly jarring scene of Friday groveling in gratitude at Crusoe's feet. When the whites say thanks, they embrace each other.
So, no, the objections are not just P. C. sermonizing. The racism is highly offensive. But the fact that the story is so widely known and has such elemental appeal makes this an excellent book for discussion, especially in classes studying the history of exploration and discovery. Louise Erdrich addressed a similar problem [BKL Ap 1 99] when she commented that although she had loved the Little House books as a child, in rereading them as an adult, she was shocked to recognize that "not only was there no consciousness about the displaced people whose land the newcomers were taking, but also that there was a fair amount of racism." Still, she disagrees with censorship of any kind: "The best way is for good teachers and parents to install racism radar detectors so that kids can make their own judgments, because they're going to have to."
Robinson Crusoe is part of the fine Scribner Storybook Classic series that includes The Last of the Mohicans and Robin Hood, all of which bring readers to Wyeth's paintings. Treasure Island will be out later this year. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
When we first met Robinson Crusoe, he is a thoughtless young man, in love with the idea of adventure and with no idea of the possible consequences or of his responsibilities toward his family. He goes to sea, when he encounters more than one disaster but persists in his search for adventure. Finally, his adventuring spirit will leave him a castaway on a seemingly deserted island, the only survivor of the foundering of a ship.
Luckily, Crusoe is able to salvage food, tools, weapons, and building materials from his old ship. With this starter kit, he improvises a precarious life on his island. But Crusoe is not yet safe from danger. In addition to the hazards of illness, hurricane, earthquake and loneliness, he will discover both cannibals and pirates in his neighborhood. Will Crusoe be equal to the tests of his spirit and his ability to survive? Will he ever have the chance to leave his island, and return to his family?
This Campfire Graphic Novel nicely adapts the original novel. The edited text and artwork capture the essentials of the story, including Crusoe's explicit struggle for redemption after years of wasted living. Highly recommended.
As with the other Penguin Clothbound Classic editions, this too includes introductory material and appendices typical of other Penguin editions.
I hope Penguin continues to release titles in the Clothbound Classics series, and I wish it would release more titles per year in the series.
I think that Daniel Defoe did a great job at this book. I found some reviews about Robinson Crusoe from some other books that said it was incredibly boring and hard to finish. I did not find this the case at all! There was one portion of the book that seemed a little redundant, but I definitely never wanted to quit reading it.
If you want to read this book, give yourself a little time. I had to read a Daniel Defoe book for school, and I chose this one. It is a good book, but it could be a little difficult to read just because it was written in a different time period. I wouldn't really suggest this book if you don't have a little time. For me, this was not one of those read-in-a-few-hours books (and I LOVE to read!!!).
Overall, this was a great book that spurs the imagination and keeps the reader interested!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Will now purchase the hard copy for the childrene to read, and enjoy like many before them.