We attribute their success to two facts: first, Ransome is a great storyteller and, second, he clearly writes from first-hand experience. Independence and initiative are qualities any child can understand, and every volume in this collection celebrates these virtues.
Swallowdale (originally published in 1931) is the second title in Arthur Ransome's classic series for children, for grownups, for anyone captivated by the world of adventure and imagination. It follows the Walker family and friends through a shipwreck, a camp on the mainland, a secret valley and cave, and a thrilling mountain hike.
All 12 novels in the Swallows and Amazons series have been brought to life in the US in print by David R. Godine, Publisher.
Listen to more in the Swallows and Amazons series.
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imagination, independence, countryside
Titty, the third child in the Walker family, is my favorite. Her imagination always enlivens the world around her, but she's willing to listen and learn from her mother and older sister.
The reader does a wonderful job using different voices for all the children. It's usually quite easy to tell which one is speaking. Her clear unhurried narration also contributes to a feeling of peace and enjoyment as the children are camping but quickens enough for such excitement as there is (like the sailing race near the end of the novel).
No, it's pretty long for one sitting. Most of it doesn't make you feel like you must listen to the next chapter immediately.
I love the Swallows and Amazons books. They give my children a glimpse into a life of safe exploration and adventure, a time when strangers in books were friends and helpful rather than scary. There is one point in the book when Titty attempts to make a kind of voodoo doll, which was a bit surprising as we were listening. But her older siblings and mother react calmly with just enough explanation and discouragement to avoid spreading the idea to anyone listening to the book. I also love how the oldest brother faces his own fault in the shipwreck and then moves on from it, learning from his mistakes but not letting them hold him back in the future.
This whole series appeals to all of my children - from age 6 up to age 13.
"At long last"
This is what I, as a Ransome fan, have been waiting for. We used to have abridged versions on tape - but you felt as if you were being read to by a rather stern vicar who thought these stories would be 'good for you'. This reader hits just the right tone, and she succeeds admirably in giving each character his or her own voice. Remember those school days when, for the last half hour of the afternoon, the teacher would get out the current book and read the next instalment to you? (Do they still do this?) This reading recaptures the sheer pleasure of that experience. For Ransome fans whose spirits lift when, with the characters in one of the novels, they return to the lake for another holiday after too long an absence, and see the sun shining on the water and the fells in the distance, these readings will be a delight. And you can always pretend you're getting them for your children or grandchildren.
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