Swallowdale (Swallows & Amazons) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-04-04 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings

"It's years since I read Swallows and Amazons. I always meant to go on and read more but for some reason never did. Swallowdale was worth waiting for though - the story of another idyllic summer spent messing about in boats and on the fells in the Lake District. What I particularly love about it is the real understanding Ransome has of the way in which children's imaginative play works - how reality and invention merge to produce a sustained narrative of adventure. Yes, it's very much a product of its time and it's unlikely that many children these days would enjoy the freedom or the opportunity to spend their holidays like this (at the time of publication that sort of life was only available to a few), but Arthur Ransome should be recognised for freeing children's literature from the hidebound attitudes that pervaded so much of it in the Victorian and Edwardian eras and for writing with sympathy and understanding of children and their world. C" said.

"This is the 2nd of the 12 "Swallows and Amazons" books, and one of our family favorites.

The Walker children return to the Lake District for their summer holidays, just as they did in "Swallows and Amazons". Great plans are made to camp together with the Blackett girls together on Wild Cat Island. However tragedy strikes when the good boat Swallow is shipwrecked!

So sailing and camping on the island plans must change while Swallow is repaired. The adventurers turn their sailing misfortune into a land based adventure when they discover a wonderful hidden camp area that they name "Swallowdale". A cross-country hike up a mountain that they have named Katechenjunga, a hike through the fog, and the difficulties of the Blackett sisters in joining them because of the arrival of their Great Aunt make adventures upon adventures throughout the book! And at the end Swallow is repaired and a race around the lake to see who is the fastest ship and the best crew tops off this wonderful story.

I recommend this book very highly as well! Once you start reading these books, it is hard to stop!
" said.

"This is the follow up title to Swallows and Amazons and is a fairly good read, as usual nothing dramatic happens but everyone has fun.

It is the following year The baddie takes the form of Great Aunt Maria, who is visiting the Blacketts (Amazons) and so Nancy and Peggy are restricted in their movements and how much time they can spend having adventures with the Swallows.

In many ways these books are a children's version of the world of P.G Wodehouse, especially Jeeves and Wooster, where the plot surrounds the innocuous, and this time an Aunt.

The Swallows find a valley, which they call Swallowdale, with its own hidden cave, the usual adventures occur which are slight, they meet the Charcoal burners,Father and Son both called Billy.

And eventually when the Great Aunt has left they camp out on 'Kachenjunga' (The Old Man of Coniston, and when I hiked up it, there were 30+ of us at the top, I have know quieter roads in Leeds than the paths upto the top of the Old man lol) and find a super slide which they nickname the 'Knickerbockerbreaker'.

Ransome on form but just a tad less than the 1st in the series.
" said.

"Have you not read "Swallows and Amazons" yet? Perhaps in my desire to remain spoiler free, I didn't play it up enough.

"Swallowdale" is book two in the series, but you should really start at the beginning. The young adventurers are all back at the lake for their summer holiday with new discoveries and difficulties to contend with.

I seriously love these books. Set in 1931 (when it was written), the four siblings who make up one sailing crew and the two who make up the other are all capable, imaginative, helpful kids. Sure, there's the occasional declaration of war between them, but once it's over everyone's a good sport and they are allies once again. And when things go awry, they keep their heads and pitch in to help.

As I said in my review of the first book, these are the kids I wish I'd known growing up.

If you like camping and/or sailing, definitely check out this series. I'm not even into camping but it sounds tempting after reading two of these. It also makes me miss sailing in the little sunfish a friend of mine had in high school.

Though the main characters are children, it doesn't feel like a kid's book. Suitable for kids certainly, but with a depth of story (448 pages and nautical terms I'm still looking up!) that make it a great read for adults too. I look forward to the next one!
" said.

"This is the second book in Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series, bringing back all of the main characters from the original book. This is similar to its predecessor, but starts with two significant events:
1) The discovery of the titular Swallowdale, a "secret" valley on the main island where the story takes place.
2) The boat "Swallow" crashes, and spends most of the book being repaired, leaving its crew to spend most of the book acting like they have been shipwrecked.

This book also introduces the family of the Amazons (Nancy and Peggy), including their domineering Great Aunt, who grounds them for being late and makes them wear dresses, which they hate. I quite liked this angle of the story, as we didn't know so much about them in the original book.

The second half of the book involves the children exploring the island further, and culminates in the aftermath of a mountaineering expedition.

Like in the original book, the characterisation of the main characters is really good; in this case, especially Roger and Titty, who get some really enjoyable moments towards the end. I didn't think it was quite as good as the first book, but I still loved getting to read more about these characters and hope to keep reading; I already have a copy of the third book, Peter Duck.
" said.

"I am onto a new series. Obviously these books were (are) a children's classic in England.

This is the second in the series (follows Swallows and Amazons). The children find themselves back the next summer to continue their adventures sailing and camping.

For all the enthusiasm and excitement it is short-lived. First, the Amazons have a stern great aunt staying who demands their constant attendance and does not think it is fitting for the two girls to be off playing pirates. She has their mother and uncle on pretty tight leash too. So, though the grown-ups symphathize they are not about to incur the wrath of "G.A."

The Swallows have their own troubles at the outset also. John manages to sink Swallows on one of their initial outings with the Amazons. Ashamed, embarrassed and discouraged they are all set to go back to Holly Howe for the summer. But it is suggested that since they shipwrecked why not be shipwrecked?

The rest of the book is their adventures charting new territories and discovering that sometimes what we don't expect can actually be quite nice.

Actually the story of the Amazons (two young girls brought up in very proper circumstances)is endearing. They are definitely tomboys (is that outdated), quite precocious and have a wicked sense of humor.

These books are dated in that all you have are children enjoying life left to their own devices in a safe environment. They learn to camp and all it entails, To sail--the responsibility and the self-esteem. To care for themselves with adult supervision that knows when to step back and to step in. To fish. And mostly just to enjoy nature.
" said.

"Definitely the best children's book ever wri ... oh no, not again.

For a long time (ie, until I read Secret Water), Swallowdale was my favourite in the series. I don't know anything about boats, and in this book they are mostly camping instead, so I felt more at home with it. And who wouldn't want to camp in Swallowdale, a secret valley with a stream and a [mmgrmmffrpmmph] perfect larder, is what I was going to say, actually, Titty.

This is a story about the Swallows, and the Amazons, dealing with entirely different domestic circumstances to those they have been planning and dreaming about since the previous summer. Instead of camping happily together on Wild Cat Island, the Swallows find themselves shipwrecked, and the Amazons find themselves at home in best frocks learning poetry.

Ransome (intentionally or otherwise) sets up plot points for a couple of later books in this one (I don't count Peter Duck, because I always read Peter Duck as the second book in the series anyway). Firstly, of course, the Great Aunt, who is later responsible for turning Dick and Dot into Picts. Then there's Titty messing about with wax and pins and frightening herself dreadfully, just as she does (but with much more positive results) with the dowsing stick in Pigeon Post. The conquest of Kanchenjunga is a foreshadowing of the Arctic exploration in Winter Holiday. But in Swallowdale these are passing incidents rather than the basis of the plot.

Plot isn't really Swallowdale's strong point - lots of things happen, but they don't all tie up in the way that some of the later books do. But that doesn't matter - Swallowdale is about location and character, and these are brilliantly done. And I love the ending, even though it's hard to leave the Swallows and the Amazons just at the point where the holiday really starts ...

" said.

"I recently reread Swallows and Amazons, so of course I had to follow it up by rereading Swallowdale as well.

My comments on this book are much like those regarding its predecessor: it is a wonderful, family-friendly, wholesome, fun adventure for all ages. It is just as good as the first book in the series. In fact, I actually like it better. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that in encouraging other people to try this series, my parents lent Swallows and Amazons out to people and at some point it was never returned. I didn't take it upon myself to replace the lost volume until I was in college, so Swallowdale was the one that I reread many, many more times in middleschool, highschool, and beyond.

The second reason, is that I do think Swallowdale is better written and more developed. While I dearly love Swallows and Amazons, it does have a slow start and a unassuming plot. Swallowdale is able to jump right into the story with minimal time going over the who, what, and where. Ransome has already built the world and the beloved characters and now sets about building them up. Another shift in this story, is that while it is still very much about the whole crew, it does focus a bit more on telling things from Titty's perspective which helps center the story. I suppose it also helps that she was always my favorite character. The adventure is almost nonstop too! Oh, how I wanted to join in their fun all through my childhood!

I'll never be too old to enjoy these books. They are timeless. They are ageless. They are truly wonderful, and Swallowdale is my favorite of the lot!

This review fulfills the "Book Your Mom Loves" category of the Popsugar reading challenge.
" said.

May 2017 New Book:

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