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Swallowdale (Godine Storyteller) Paperback – July 16, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 201 customer reviews
Book 2 of 12 in the Swallows And Amazons Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

The author really does know how to write for children: in other words, he writes of what he himself delights in and so pleases without any effort both young and old. --The Nation<br /><br />This book is both silvery present and golden retrospect. All that is tedious and sullen and deceptive vanishes in its sunniness as clouds vanish in the tempered air of a summer day. . . We think that the book will last, too, from edition unto edition. --Saturday Review<br /><br />There is plenty of excitement, a little danger, a quality of thinking, planning and fun which is delightful and stimulating.TLS

He makes a tale of adventure a handbook to adventure. --Observer

This book is both silvery present and golden retrospect. All that is tedious and sullen and deceptive vanishes in its sunniness as clouds vanish in the tempered air of a summer day. . . We think that the book will last, too, from edition unto edition. --Saturday Review

There is plenty of excitement, a little danger, a quality of thinking, planning and fun which is delightful and stimulating.TLS

He makes a tale of adventure a handbook to adventure. --Observer

About the Author

Arthur Ransome was born in 1884. He was in Russia in 1917 and witnessed the Revolution, which he reported for the Manchester Guardian. After escaping to Scandinavia, he settled in the Lake District of England with his Russian wife where, in 1929, he wrote Swallows and Amazons. Thus began a writing career that has produced some of the best children s literature of all time.
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Product Details

  • Series: Godine Storyteller
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: David R Godine; A Godine Storyteller edition (July 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879235721
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879235727
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (201 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,090,615 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I am an eleven-year-old girl who first found Swallows and
Amazons at a library booksale - even before they were
republished! Don't let the title fool you - Swallows and
Amazons are two groups of siblings. One group has a boat
called Swallow.The other group has a boat called Amazon.
The Swallows and Amazons start out enemies, but become
friends rapidly. Their adventures are similar to what I have
often dreamed of - getting a boat and having adventures on
and around an island!But their adventures are not limited to
the island, they evenvisit "the natives" back home. What's
best about their adventures is that all of them are possible!
They don't do impossible things like ride on drangons or
become invisible. Their adventures really could happen! I
loved this book from the start, and have read it again and
again. I would also reccomend the other books in this series.
They are all super, and will become treasures to pass on to
later generations. Thank you, Mr. Ransome, for writing such
a wonderful book!
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Format: Paperback
I didn't discover Ransome's series until I was in my 20s, but I picked the first one up out of curiosity and was hooked.
As a child, I was a great explorer, going all over the local landscape, giving names to the different topographical features. I loved to camp and ramble. I loved boating, although I never sailed, and a picnic on an island in the river nearby (and a chance to explore said island on my own while everyone else was fishing) was a joy I'll never forget.
This book, and the others in the series, recapture those happy days for me. This one is very innocent, with no real violence or menace, but full of joyful adventure. The children are great role models; they're feisty and independent, yet still respectful of their elders. They're imaginative but know when to set aside their fantasies and deal with realities.
The book also conveys the joy of adventure and the great outdoors, and also shows that everyone has something important to contribute. Sure, one member of the group might be more interested in cooking and provisions, but that's necessary.
The adults take a back seat in these books, generally, but they're there. This one, especially, can be seen as a test by the parents to see how responsible their children are, and it's implicit that the kids are doing their best to prove themselves to their parents. The parents don't neglect them, they're there if they're needed, and check up on them regularly, but they also give them space to ramble and have an adventure.
Today it may seem as if these parents are letting their kids run wild; but I think families today could use books like this. When you have kids who are shuttled back and forth to band practice and swim team and heaven knows what else, they need the time to just relax and let things happen.
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Format: Paperback
Arthur Ransome's "Swallows and Amazons" is the first in a classic series of children's stories that will appeal to readers of all ages. The book is set in the English Lake District in the period between the two World Wars, (where the author was living at the time). It tells of a time when a healthy imagination (and the freedom to take advantage of it) was enough to keep most youngsters both amused and out of mischief. The world was a safer and simpler place back then and this book does much to make us realise just how much has been irretrievably lost since.
Not that this was ever Ransome's intention, of course. He was simply drawing upon his own boyhood experiences (from a yet earlier time) as well as contemporary ones of the children of a family friend. He used these to weave an enchanting tale that would remind those same children (by then returned `home' to the deserts of the Middle East) of a happy summer spent sailing in England.
The story's strong basis in reality (albeit several separate realities, as it were), tempered with Ransome's love of sailing (and his knowledge of Lake District life), imbue the book with a strong sense of authority. Both the text and the author's own pen-and-ink illustrations also have an endearing charm that comes across even now, some 70 years after the book was first published. One of the great things about this book (and indeed, the whole series of books that was to follow) is that Ransome avoids most of the stereotypical treatments of children's roles that his contemporaries (as well as later authors) continually espoused. He always manages to treat (nearly!) all of his characters as equal partners in their activities, whatever their age, gender or background.
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Format: Paperback
"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.
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