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The Swiss Family Robinson New edition Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 551 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0440415947
ISBN-10: 0440415942
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-5-- It goes without saying that, in the process of condensing and rewriting these books down to a fourth-grade reading level, most of the distinguished aspects of the works--writing style, language, atmosphere, characterization--have been sacrificed for a simple, not to say simplistic, master-plots approach that conveys the incidents but fails to impart the justification for their continuing endurance in the canon of juvenile literature. The books are illustrated with some attention paid to the sense of the plots and characters. For those who persist in the fallacy that knowing what the so-called "classics" of children's literature are about is a satisfactory substitution for actually experiencing them by reading the original, this series is acceptable. For the rest of us, it's as if someone's painted a guppy white and called it Moby Dick. --Christine Behrmann, New York Public Library
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

This new series of Illustrated Chosen Classics is a collection of the world's most famous stories, especially retold for children. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling; New edition edition (April 13, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440415942
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440415947
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (551 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,005,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stephen Balbach on May 21, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Swiss Family Robinson was initially written in German by Swiss author Johann Wyss in 1812, and then soon after an accurate English translation was completed by William Godwin in 1816. The Godwin translation remained the standard in English for a generation or two, but by the mid-19th century the number and variety of English translations began to multiply - there were no enforceable copyright laws and translators freely added episodes, changed names (and even genders) of some of the characters and cut portions of the text to conform to changing views on education and aesthetic tastes. There are probably over a dozen such variations and most who read the novel today are not reading the original (the 2007 Penguin Classics edition, edited by John Seelye, is the 1816 Godwin translation, which is the closest to the original). I have now read two: William Kingston's 1879 adaptation (one of the more common adaptations) and Godwin, and I believe the original translation of Wyss by Godwin is better. It's not abridged like most later versions so certain scenes just make more sense - for example some of the characters are more dynamic, like Ernest shows himself to be a capable bloodthirsty killer like his brothers (a scene cut from later editions to maintain his "bookish" nature) - and the theories on education are classic Rousseauian (he is mentioned twice in the narrative).

This isn't your childhood Swiss family.
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Check the publisher very carefully before you buy "Swiss Family Robinson." One of the versions available, published by General Books LLC, has reviews associated with completely different imprints of the book from genuine publishers.

Be warned that the contents of the version of Swiss Family Robinson published by General Books LLC is completely unedited garbage. Also be warned that when you do the "Look Inside," you're not looking at the General Books LLC version, you're looking at an image of the book from a genuine publisher that actually edits and checks their work. And the reason is....

General Books LLC puts together books using an OCR automated scanning device which misses complete pages. There are numerous Typos and there's no table of contents. There is ABSOLUTELY NO EDITING of any kind done to the book, and the scanning is done by a robot (which the publishers website says can miss pages).

This is all stated on the publishers web site (google them and read - you'll be as stunned as I was when you get all the details). The Almost every review of books published by General Books LLC (around 500,000 of them from one imprint or another now listed on Amazon) by buyers is negative, many are extremely so.

If you have bought the version from General Books LLC by mistake, you can return to Amazon within 30 days(but check Amazon's Return Policy for the details) .

Personally, I always liked Swiss Family Robinson, my one star review is for the General Books LLC version.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The story is, of course, a classic! I doubt many would finish reading it in these days given how dated the language and story line feel. My one-star rating is solely due to the fact that this particular version is incomplete. The missing pages have a profound impact on enjoying / gaining a full understanding of the story. I feel the version description should mention the missing text!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought three of the Classic Start books, Swiss Family Robinson being one. After reading all three (SFR, Treasure Island, and Tom Sawyer) with my young child (age 6) I was so disappointed at the lack of "meat" in the story, the prose so altered because so much of it was simply deleted that the stories -- in all three cases -- were very flat. I bought these books to read to my child because of the excellence in writing of the originals. In the "Retold" versions in the Classic Start Series, there is no breadth of vocabulary, it being so watered down that it left me sorry I had spent the money. To shorten the stories, so many details are left out that the stories just aren't the same and much of the meatier vocabulary is gone.

If your intent is to widen your child's vocabulary by exposing them to good writing and lyrical prose, do not opt for the "retold," condensed versions of these classic stories. Get the originals and read every word. They will get the meaning from the context and will be enriched. I cannot say the same for the Classic Start Series.

I suppose they serve a purpose and that because of the price point there will be children who will hear the stories that otherwise might not. For that point alone I gave the two stars.
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Format: Paperback
Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe carved a literary niche for the survival story, and The Swiss Family Robinson is one of the many stories carved in that mould. Written from the perspective of the father, it chronicles the first-hand account of the shipwreck and survival of a Swiss family of six on a remote island somewhere near New Guinea. The family consists of a Swiss pastor who is a walking encyclopedia on agricultural practices from around the world; his wife who excels in equal measure with culinary skills, and four energetic sons. Displaying remarkable resilience and resourcefulness, they survive completely alone for over ten years until their rescue. In the process, they create their own European civilization, showing complete mastery over animals and plants, and creatively establishing houses. The bulk of the novel consists of their struggle for survival with their endless discovery of new species of plants and animals..
Readers should be warned that different versions of the Swiss Family Robinson abound. The Swiss pastor originally credited with the work - Johann David Wyss (1743-1818) - originally told many of these tales to his children, one of whom was likely responsible for the editing and publication of it. It was subsequently translated into many languages, with translators taking major liberties in abridgement or adding episodes of their own. The Disney film version, for instance, contains confrontations with pirates that are entirely absent from the original. Some versions speak of the shipwrecked lass as "Jenny", others as "Emily". The version I read (the Puffin Classics edition) was the translation of WHG Kingston, first published in 1879, and widely regarded as one of the best-loved English translations.
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