BOOK REVIEWS

Swallowdale (Swallows & Amazons) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-06-20 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings
ISBN:1567924212
LANGUAGE: English

"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. http://www.popsugar.com/love/Reading-...
" said.

"Swallowdale is the sequel to Swallows And Amazons, and was itself succeeded by a number of further sequels. I must admit I enjoyed the first book rather a lot more than this one. There are some beautifully described episodes here, yes, and enjoyable escapades as before... but there's something missing too. It's hard to explain exactly what it is, but Swallowdale seems to take an inordinately long time to not go anywhere in particular. As a rule, I'm not usually put off by slow or languid books, but Ransome gets far too sidetracked here... for instance, every time Susan boils the kettle for a cup of tea, he seems determined to describe her making the fire and pouring the water, etc etc. When he actually gets into the interaction between characters, and the childrens' adventures on the lake and in the hills, the story is so much livelier and all the better for it.

In short, the story deals with the return of the "Swallows" - John, Susan, Titty and Roger - to their beloved lake and a summer of sailing. Alas, their friends the "Amazons" (Nancy and Peggy) are tied up at home with a fussy Great Aunt who does nothing but chastise them for gallavanting around the lake in their boat and attempts to ruin their holiday. After a boating accident which destroys the Swallow, John and co. are forced to abandon sailing expeditions and instead make a camp in a secret valley in the hills, where they have various adventures whilst trying to keep a tricky correpsondence with their poor friends down the lake.

No-one describes landscapes quite like Ransome, and one of the real strengths of the book is his depiction of these gorgeous lakeland scenes. The sense of exploration and make-believe adventure is also evocatively presented. One just wishes throughout that Ransome would cut to the chase a little and that his characters might occasionally argue or even disagree mildly, as they seem to get along so impossibly well that they're never fully believable. I'm already planning to read part three soon - Peter Duck - but I'm hoping for a bit more energy from that one.
" said.

"This review also appears on my blog, Read-at-Home Mom.

In this second book in the series, a year has passed since Swallows and Amazons, and the Walker children have returned to the Lake District for the summer holiday, excited to sail in Swallow, camp on Wildcat Island, and fight more wars with the Amazon pirates, Nancy and Peggy Blackett. There are some changes this year, though. For one thing, their younger sister Vicky has stopped resembling Queen Victoria, for whom she was nicknamed, and is now called Bridget. The family has also acquired a monkey, though he has not joined them on this trip, and a parrot, named Polly, who will serve as the ship’s parrot. They have also invented an imaginary explorer named Peter Duck, about whom Titty tells many exciting stories. What they are not prepared for, however, are the unexpected changes that impact their summer fun. The Blacketts have their great aunt staying with them, and she keeps the girls on such short leashes, they can hardly have any fun or free time at all. Then the Swallow suffers an unfortunate shipwreck, and the Swallows find themselves marooned on dry land while it gets fixed. But the Walker children are true explorers, and it doesn’t take long for them to settle a new camp, which they name Swallowdale, and to set out on a whole new set of adventures, including an ascent up the peak they call Kanchenjunga.

The first book in this series is so utterly brilliant, it would be impossible to top, but this sequel comes very close. Though at times early in the story Ransome’s thoughts seem somewhat disorganized, and his descriptions repetitive and lengthy, the story hardly suffers at all from these shortcomings. Rather, Ransome does a very good job of managing many story threads, and of breathing fresh life into the setting so thoroughly explored by Swallows and Amazons. I love the plotting of the story. Obviously, a new story in a familiar setting requires some changes, or the writing grows stale, but the way he chose to bring about those changes fits seamlessly into the overall narrative arc of the story and provides its own exciting shipwreck scene. Throughout the book, Ransome propels the story forward with one realistic and believable conflict after another, always resolving them happily but not without some anxiety on the part of characters and readers alike.

The characters also have a lot of room to grow during this story. Not only do we see a prim and proper side of the usually wild Blackett girls, we also see Roger beginning to mature and developing some exciting storylines of his own. Susan, too, develops beyond her role as mate, especially when she takes up native concerns on the behalf of her mother or another adult. The differences between outspoken and daring Nancy and the more cautious Swallows is also much more apparent in this book, and made me really consider how their friendship works, and why. I also thought the adult characters came to life much more strongly in this second book. Mrs. Walker and Captain Flint, in particular, developed personalities as people, not just as authority figures or family members.

This book, like its predecessor, empowers children to use their imaginations and explores the possibilities of a world where children can roam independently and look after themselves for certain lengths of time. Contemporary kids - especially in my urban community - probably haven’t done anything close to what John, Susan, Titty, and Roger do in these books, but I think every kid understands the desire for independence and relates to the power and enjoyment of imaginative play. These books appeal to all kids because they speak to their fundamental understanding of the world, and speak to their interests and concerns, instead of to the messages, lessons, and morals of adults.
" said.

August 2017 New Book:

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