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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    8
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Performance

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    49
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    17
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    6
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Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 Stars
    43
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Annette
  • Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • 01-17-09

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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great writing! Great reading!

Great writing! Great reading! Loved it! If you love sailing or adventure, read it. The characters are interesting and the setting is fun.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

What a joy

To be a kid again
A wonderful adventure and not just for children but for those who long to remember
Some good outdoor skills information too
Just loved it

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Most monotonous children’s book ever

I’m really surprised I have heard so many favorable things about this book. I can’t believe what a long, monotonous drag it was. This was a test of endurance for my children and myself to get through. Part of the trouble, I discovered about halfway through, is that I just am not interested in entire books where children are playing make-believe. If it’s a fantasy story, fine. But I just can’t get interested in a story about a group of kids pretending they are sailors and the people around them are savages, pirates, or natives.

But, as I said, that is just part of the problem. Every minuscule, minute, minutia detail of what the children do is described in the most lengthy narrative that goes on and on and on. After each hour of listening, my kids and I expected and hoped that a bit of plot would develop, but sadly, no. No actual plot of any interest takes place. If this were not bad enough, the children’s baby sister is constantly referred to as, “Fat Vicky.” And, one of the children is actually named “Titty.”

The narrator made every painstaking detail in the story sound as if it was the most interesting information in the world. Sadly, this did nothing but help to exaggerate how mundane and inane each detail in this story is, as well as making us feel talked down to and patronized, as if we were three years old.

My children were enchanted by the idea of sailing to an island and camping on their own during the summer, which is what the children do in the story. However, this intriguing idea was not nearly enough to overcome the inherent flaws of the book that made even such an exciting prospect drag on. And on. And on. And on.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

amazing

It is a great story about children sailors it really transports you to a different world

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-11-09

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

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Peter
  • 01-18-09

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lachlan
  • 04-27-09

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

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Olivia
  • 09-21-09

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.