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Swallows and Amazons Hardcover – June 13, 2013
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"A most enjoyable tale… A book for almost any age."--New York Times Book Review
"A master storyteller, sympathetically in touch with real children and their interests, has created plots which are eminently plausible and unexpected."--Sunday Times, in an article listing Swallows & Amazons among the "99 Best Books for Children"
"A ‘white-knuckle-ride action adventure' that could capture the imagination of the Harry Potter generation."--The Guardian
About the Author
Arthur Ransome (1884-1967) was the author of more than thirty books for children. Born in Leeds in 1884, he enjoyed active, outdoor holidays, many of which became the settings for his children’s stories. Swallows and Amazons, the first of the series of the same name, is regarded as a timeless classic of children’s literature.
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Top customer reviews
This book's greatest strength and weakness is that it lacked serious conflict and did not suck me in. I was able to put the book down...and I found that pleasant for a change, since I normally gulp in one sitting. I read some, put it down for a few days, went back and read some more. I wish that today's literature had not built up a desire in me and in so many others to have serious, high conflict. I'm glad the kids were never in grave danger or trying to save the world. They had adventures, but I was never terrified for their lives and just enjoyed their good-natured battles and explorations.
Although children today are generally not permitted to do this (probably be arrested for child endangerment), children can still read this book and dream about how it was or it could be.
Briefly the story is about two groups of children, a group of four siblings - the Swallows, and the other, two sisters - the Amazons, who are enamored with sailing and of being outdoors and live a rich fantasy revolving around these two desires.
The two groups are at first in conflict over who controls the island, but after a challenge settles the issue join forces to thwart skullduggery that casts unfair blame on the Swallows.
The book might be a bit slow in the beginning for younger readers, but once the two groups meet, it takes off and is exciting in a very innocent way. These are children being children, not children trying to young adults, making it very different from much contemporary fiction aimed at tweens/young teenagers.
The story is set in the Lake District of Northern England and relates the adventures of two groups of children; John, Susan Titty and Roger, who are on holiday there, make up the Swallows, while Nancy and Peggy, who live there, are the Amazons.
I first read this story when I was about twelve years old and have read the series of books several times in the last sixty years.
As the introduction says, this book is about sailing, camping, fishing, swimming and piratical exploits on an uncharted lake (which bears a striking resemblance to Lake Windermere). The freshness of the early mornings on Wild Cat Island, the long days of sunshine, the challenge of lighting the camp fire and the unbridled pleasure of "Messing around in boats" totally enthralled me as a reader and gave me a life-long interest in sailing boats and camping.
A delightful first book in an enthralling series. I higly recommend it to you.