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Treasure Island Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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"Over Treasure Island I let my fire die in winter without knowing I was freezing."
About the Author
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894) was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer who spent the last part of his life in the Samoan islands. His best-known books include Treasure Island, Kidnapped, The Master of Ballantrae, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Alfred Molina received a Tony nomination for his performance in the Broadway play Art. He is one of the most respected character actors in modern film, with appearances in Boogie Nights, Maverick, Chocolat, Spiderman-2, The Da Vinci Code, An Education, Prince of Persia and many more.
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This was going to be a gift for a 9 year old looking to engage further in chapter reading. No longer.
I thought a rollicking pirate adventure, illustrated by N. C. Wyeth, might be fun. This poor replica is anything but fun...the cover is pixelated and the illustration plates are muddied grays, and I haven't even addressed how a 9-year old is going to try to read the disjointed copy spacing and chapter headings, as well as typos and misspellings. Please see photos.
On top of this my copy was bent and sticky, go figure packing crew.
100% dissatisfied long-term Amazon customer.
Much has been remarked in many of these critiques about the outdated language Stevenson used. In that regard, I have to say that the Kindle edition that I downloaded lacks one thing that was included in my old printed edition, which was published by MacMillan way back in 1924. The old edition has a set of notes following the text, explaining a lot of the nautical terms and old-fashioned jargon. It even includes the complete lyrics to "A Bottle of Rum". I never found those notes necessary but they might prove useful to some of the younger readers, to whom such language might be unfamiliar. Personally, I think the language is part of what has given this tale it's lasting appeal. In addition, I don't know whether 18th Century pirates really spoke the way Stevenson has them speak in Treasure Island, but there is no doubt that it is the way they will forever be remembered, "...and ye may lay to that, Matey"!
Some of the nautical terms and pirate jargon in the story were unfamiliar to me and I found the CliffNotes Treasure Island Glossary to be very useful in understanding them. It defines terms like alow and aloft; assizes; dead-eye; my cock, as in rooster and meaning a fine young man (that one tripped me up for a few seconds) and many others. Amazon won't let me post a link to it so just do a search for "Full Glossary for Treasure Island - CliffsNotes". It'll probably be the first hit in the list and it's free.
There are many images on the Web for Treasure Island. I did a Search for 'Treasure Island Map' and I found one that helped in getting a better idea of where action was taking place. I hope you enjoy the story and if you have young children why not read it aloud with them.
By the way, if you want to see the film I highly recommend you watch the 1950 Disney version starring Robert Newton as Long John Silver. One RottenTomatoes critic said this; "Newton's Long John Silver is the ultimate buccaneer, a one-legged, squinty-eyed blackguard so piratical he even concludes a prayer with a hammy 'Ahhhhhrrrmen...'" And Silver could also be the most charming, silver-tongued devil around when it suited him.
I remembered little of this story, from my earlier read. The old style language would have been pretty difficult for a typical, young baby boomer -- and, I expect I had gone through some segments with only a general idea of what was happening. Perhaps my book had had a bit of glossary, as another recent reader recalled from his childhood reading. It would be a good book to read along with a young person, to explain terms and quaint language, and to look up items, together.
As a viewer of Black Sails, I noted that three of the characters in the series were lifted from Treasure Island, as a bit of Googling confirmed that, indeed, they are fictional: Billy Bones, John Silver, Captain Flint.