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Swallows and Amazons | [Arthur Ransome]

Swallows and Amazons

Swallows and Amazons, the book that started it all in 1930, introduces the Walker family, the camp on Wild Cat Island, the able-bodied catboat "Swallow," and the two intrepid Amazons, plucky Nancy and Peggy Blackett.
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Publisher's Summary

For anyone who loves sailing and adventure, Arthur Ransome's classic Swallows and Amazons series stands alone. Originally published in the UK over a half-century ago, these books are still eagerly read by children, despite their length and their decidedly British protagonists.

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.

Swallows and Amazons, the book that started it all in 1930, introduces the Walker family, the camp on Wild Cat Island, the able-bodied catboat "Swallow", and the two intrepid Amazons, plucky Nancy and Peggy Blackett. (All 12 novels in the Swallows and Amazons series have been brought to life in the U.S. in print by David R. Godine, Publisher.)

Listen to more in the Swallows and Amazons series.

(P)2008 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (101 )
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4.4 (60 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jefferson Fukuoka, Japan 02-05-11
    Jefferson Fukuoka, Japan 02-05-11 Member Since 2010

    I love listening to or reading books--especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, classics, & historical.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    157
    ratings
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    22
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    Story
    "Idyllic, Funny, Vivid Childhood Adventure-Play"

    This is an utterly charming audiobook! Arthur Ransome's story about the four Walker siblings ("Able Seaman" Titty being my favorite!) and the two "Amazon Pirate" girls and their idyllic adventures during a perfect August in 1929 sailing around a big lake in the Lake District and camping on Wild Cat Island in it is vividly, humorously, winningly told. Ransome is so good at capturing how kids play, with one half of their minds and hearts in fantasyland (pirates, explorers, the Pacific ocean, sharks, buried treasure, sea battles, walking the plank, deserted islands, etc.) and one half in the real world (making safe fires, cleaning fish and pots and pans, teaching a younger sibling how to swim, managing sailboats efficiently, etc.). He's so good at depicting how their thoughts and imaginations and hearts work! And his girls, especially Titty and Nancy, are at least as imaginative, bold, wild, and strong as the boys.

    I cringed at first when I heard the kids referring to the "natives" (locals) from the standpoint, I thought, of "civilized white explorers," but then it turned out to be their way of signifying killjoy adults who are too serious to enter into the kids' fantasy world and became a complex and interesting use of language.

    The reader, Alison Larkin, is perfectly suited to the book. She speaks clearly, thoroughly understands and feels what she's reading, slightly varies her voice for the different characters (from Ship's Boy Roger to Captain Flint), and speaks with infectious good humor and spirit, so that listening to Ransome's delightful text becomes a big smiling and chuckling pleasure.

    The book is also surprisingly moving (without being at all sentimental), as when, near the end, Mrs. Dixon, the local farm woman who has been supplying the kids with fresh milk every morning, says she'll miss them after they leave the lake the next day, and Titty says, "But we'll be back next year and every year after that for ever and ever," and Mrs. Dixon replies, "Aye

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jefferson Jonan-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Japan 02-05-11
    Jefferson Jonan-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Japan 02-05-11 Member Since 2010

    I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1396
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    255
    228
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    996
    15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Idyllic, Funny, Vivid Childhood Adventure-Play"

    This is an utterly charming audiobook! Arthur Ransome's story about the four Walker siblings ("Able Seaman" Titty being my favorite!) and the two "Amazon Pirate" girls and their idyllic adventures during a perfect August in 1929 sailing around a big lake in the Lake District and camping on Wild Cat Island in it is vividly, humorously, winningly told. Ransome is so good at capturing how kids play, with one half of their minds and hearts in fantasyland (pirates, explorers, the Pacific ocean, sharks, buried treasure, sea battles, walking the plank, deserted islands, etc.) and one half in the real world (making safe fires, cleaning fish and pots and pans, teaching a younger sibling how to swim, managing sailboats efficiently, etc.). He's so good at depicting how their thoughts and imaginations and hearts work! And his girls, especially Titty and Nancy, are at least as imaginative, bold, wild, and strong as the boys.

    I cringed at first when I heard the kids referring to the "natives" (locals) from the standpoint, I thought, of "civilized white explorers," but then it turned out to be their way of signifying killjoy adults who are too serious to enter into the kids' fantasy world and became a complex and interesting use of language.

    The reader, Alison Larkin, is perfectly suited to the book. She speaks clearly, thoroughly understands and feels what she's reading, slightly varies her voice for the different characters (from Ship's Boy Roger to Captain Flint), and speaks with infectious good humor and spirit, so that listening to Ransome's delightful text becomes a big smiling and chuckling pleasure.

    The book is also surprisingly moving (without being at all sentimental), as when, near the end, Mrs. Dixon, the local farm woman who has been supplying the kids with fresh milk every morning, says she'll miss them after they leave the lake the next day, and Titty says, "But we'll be back next year and every year after that for ever and ever," and Mrs. Dixon replies, "Aye

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Annette Los Angeles, CA, USA 01-17-09
    Annette Los Angeles, CA, USA 01-17-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "This book is a treat!"

    What a marvelous book this is! Listening to Ransome's "Swallows and Amazons" made me nostalgic for a childhood I didn't even have... Children are sure to find the book delightful, as the characters are very appealing and their resourcefulness quite inspiring. Alison Larkin's narration is pitch-perfect. Each character has his or her own, distinctive "voice," and Larkin does a beautiful job of making the adventure very real. I'm looking forward with great anticipation to reading the other books in the series.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine Buzzards Bay, MA, USA 10-30-09
    Christine Buzzards Bay, MA, USA 10-30-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An Absolute Delight"

    My 8 year-old-daughter and I absolutely loved this book, and the narration was superb! It's a classic adventure story of tremendous imagination and good-hearted humor that will make you glad to be alive. Marvelously entertaining and inspiring, and wholesome without being cloying. The Britishisms can all be deciphered in context and provide an opportunity for some fun discussions of American versus British English. My daughter and I enjoyed this on long rides, to the point of not wanting to get out of the car when we'd arrived at our destination. Parents, you will be reminded exactly what children value and how to be a kindred spirit to your children, and kids will meet likeable role models whose earnest explorations will embolden their hearts. Not to be missed! We are continuing on with the whole series. Absolutely love the narrator, as well!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Redlands, CA, United States 08-23-12
    Lisa Redlands, CA, United States 08-23-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Innocent story, innocent adventure"

    Published in 1930, this is a lovely example of the adventure story of days long past. Children who hardly quarrel live in a world safe enough to camp alone on an island, have a brief but friendly war with some other neighborhood children, and reveal the truth about a vandalism incident to a grumpy old man. It's a lovely idyl. Some of the old-fashioned language, as well as the nautical terms, my confuse younger children, but the overall level is from about 7 (with adult help perhaps) to 11 years old. It's a nice listen, just don't spend time waiting for it to turn dark and 21st century young adult. It never does. The summer ends and a sequel follows.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gregory W. Edwards SF Bay Area, Ca 03-03-09
    Gregory W. Edwards SF Bay Area, Ca 03-03-09 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Swallows and Amazons"

    I have read this series since I was a child. The reading met all of my expectations. I greatly enjoyed hearing this reading of Swallows and Amazons and I hope Audible does the whole series. It was particularly fun to listen to as I was biking along the Pacific coast while listening. The Swallows and Amazons were exploring the lake and I was also out in a similar area. This added something to just reading at home, making the audible book better than a physical book.

    One of the best children's series of all time.



    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin MADISON, WI, United States 08-07-14
    Robin MADISON, WI, United States 08-07-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Kids' adventure stands the test of time"

    I don't know who would be more envious, 21st century kids or 21st century parents, of a time and place where kids, aged 7 to at most 14, can sail real boats, swim, camp, build fires, use knives, etc. with no adult supervision for days on end. The kids know they are responsible for everything and they live up to the demands. Sure, this is fiction, but it is based on the author's childhood. These are the people who would grow up to deal with the Battle of Britain, air raids and rationing with the motto "Keep Calm and Carry On".

    The kids also have great imaginations, and the girls are just as good at sailing and climbing as the boys, which is very impressive for a story from the 1930's. One of the girls, whose name was probably Letitia but goes by the (to Americans) unfortunate name of Titty, is always the first to suggest bloodthirsty adventures.

    I'm not sure why a woman narrates, as the author was a man and the kids are of both genders, but it works fine. Apparently some British listeners disliked the narration as too much like a governess, but I thought it was good, and she was able to keep the voices of the various characters distinct.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maggi M San Diego, CA USA 08-05-14
    Maggi M San Diego, CA USA 08-05-14 Member Since 2012

    Maggi

    ratings
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    "Terrific Adventure"
    Where does Swallows and Amazons rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Among the best. The story is a treat to listen to. I loved the book when I was a kid. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it in 2014


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Probably Titty because she has a vivid imagination that becomes an important part of the Swallows and Amazons adventure. I loved the scenes when she is left alone on the island and is bold enough to steal the Amazons sail boat.


    What about Alison Larkin’s performance did you like?

    She did a great job of creating the characters.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?


    the best dramatic moment is when the arrow with the green feather tip lands in the Swallows campfire. A surprise worthy of J. K. Rowling and the best of Children's Literature.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily Stockton, CA, United States 07-25-12
    Emily Stockton, CA, United States 07-25-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Childhood Favorite Rediscovered"
    What did you love best about Swallows and Amazons?

    What I love about Swallows and Amazons is the freedom the children take for granted. It was a different world.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I loved the war against Captain Flint alias Uncle Jim.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hiroaki. K Toronto, ON Canada 11-08-08
    Hiroaki. K Toronto, ON Canada 11-08-08 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "mmm"

    I have loved this book since when I was a child, and have had the imaginary voice of a "man" instead of woman narrator.

    It is ok the narrator is a woman, but to me, the voice and how she read it killed the atmosphere of each scene, making it a mere children's fishing holiday than an adventure.

    3 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 10 results
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  • Amazon Customer
    UK
    1/11/09
    Overall
    "Terrible reading"

    A classic of English literature narrated by someone putting on a mock upper-class accent, reading as if to a three year-old. I can only think it is deliberate sabotage by someone who was press-ganged on to a project they hate, and is taking revenge by wrecking it.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Peter
    Langport, Somerset, United Kingdom
    1/18/09
    Overall
    "Swallows and Amazons"

    I have to agree with the accent comment mentioned above. These books were written by a man who almost single handedly kept the British on the side of the Russians during the first world war. They focus on children who played and explored together regardless of class and stuck by thier friends see The Big Six and recognised trus skill of all crafts and the love opf outdoor life. To have the characters given such false sounding voices does not bring the full charm to the stories nor does the books justice. However to have the books in full despite the above resercvations is better than not having them. Could the future books be read more sympathetically.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Lachlan
    Moore Park BeachAustralia
    4/27/09
    Overall
    "The stars are for the author only ..."

    The narrator, on the other hand, would be considered patronising even if the subject material were Winnie the Pooh. Playschool has missed an ideal presenter in overlooking her. These books, which bring tears to my eyes in their text form (I'm a childhood sailor myself, and named my first boat the 'Swallow'), are completely ruined by her 'pre-school story-telling' tone.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Olivia
    graffhamUnited Kingdom
    9/21/09
    Overall
    "breathtaking miss"

    Am listening, horrified, to the sample as I write. I think someone's got the narrator in a half-nelson. Would have loved this book in audio form, but can't even stomach the sample, let alone an unabridged reading by this woman. Ah me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-4 of 4 results

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