For anyone who loves sailing and adventure, Arthur Ransome's classic Swallows and Amazons series stands alone. Originally published over a half-century ago, the twelve books are still eagerly read by children and adults alike – by all those captivated by the world of adventure and imagination. Such longevity is not only due to Ransome’s unparalleled gift of storytelling, but also his championing of qualities such as independence and initiative; virtues that appeal to every generation, whether young or old. Swallowdale (originally published in 1931) is the second title in Arthur Ransome's classic series. 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.
Arthur Ransome was a prolific writer of children's books. Born in Leeds in 1884, it was his father, a nature-loving history professor, who inspired his love of the outdoors and nurtured a passion for fishing. As a child he enjoyed active, outdoor holidays: sailing, camping and exploring the countryside. He used many of these holiday settings for his children's stories, notably the much-loved Swallows and Amazons, a book that sits comfortably in the category of ‘timeless classic’. In 1936 he won the first ever Carnegie Medal for the sixth book in the Swallows & Amazons series, Pigeon Post.
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"Quite an achievement" (The Guardian)
"There is plenty of excitement, a little danger, a quality of thinking, planning and fun which is delightful and stimulating" (Times Literary Supplement)
"Swallowdale is a real book . . . Even better than Swallows and Amazons" (Time and Tide)
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"Better than Swallows and Amazons!"
A book of its time, and none the worse for that. A more realistic series than The Famous Five set in the time when children were encouraged to self reliant and capable. My parents read these to me half a century ago and I to my daughter twenty odd years ago., but they are still as good today. Set in the Lake District and featuring the Walker and Blackett children. The four Walkers manage to sink their dinghy so have to holiday ashore. Adventure s covering catching trout, climbing fells, getting lost in the fog and of course battles with the Blacketts ensue.
A great read for children around ten to twelve, but play it on a long journey so you can listen too! Still a page turner but also charmingly nostalgic for us old timers
"Fabulous and narration MUCH improved!"
Yes, definitely. I've loved this series since I was little, but I have got even more out of them as an adult. This one is the second in the series, there isn't very much sailing this time but the story is one of the best and the atmosphere is so relaxing.
I wish I could find another series that was anything like this! To be honest I can't think of another book to compare it to.
When I listen to a book I become much more immersed in the atmosphere and the story than if I just read it. I personally like Gareth Armstrong's choice of voices, and the characters are that bit more vivid because of his reading.
When Mrs Walker sees the children bringing Roger back on the stretcher - even though we know there isn't anything terribly wrong, her feelings as a mother come through so much that you can't help joining in her panic.
When I reviewed the first book in this series, Swallows and Amazons, I had a lot of negative things to say about the narration. I'm happy to report that it is much much better in Swallowdale. The pace is perfect, not rushed, the reading is much more accurate and Gareth Armstrong seems a lot more comfortable. If I'm honest there are still a few slips here and there with regards to reading the wrong word but it's easy to overlook. I'm definitely looking forward to the rest now.
"Swallows and Amazons - Book 2"
Yes, I will listen to it many times, its a classic childrens story, that is a good story for adults to get away from it all too.
Nancy the Amazon Pirate, she treats life with a robust attitude to reality
His performance was strong but did not interfere with the story.
The sinking of the Swallow is a particularly poingnant moment
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