We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea

Swallows and Amazons Series
Narrated by: Alison Larkin
Series: Swallows and Amazons, Book 7
Length: 10 hrs and 20 mins
Categories: Kids, Ages 5-7
4.5 out of 5 stars (74 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In this latest adventure (following Pigeon Post, winner of the Carnegie Medal), the Walker family has come to Harwich to wait for Commander Walker's return. As usual, the children can't stay away from boats, and this time they meet young Jim Brading, skipper of the well-found sloop Goblin. But fun turns to high drama when the anchor drags, and the four young sailors find themselves drifting out to sea - sweeping across to Holland in the midst of a full gale!

As in all of Ransome's books, the emphasis is on self-reliance, courage, and resourcefulness. We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea is a story to warm any mariner's heart. Full of nautical lore and adventure, it will appeal to young armchair sailors and seasoned sailors alike.

Listen to more in the Swallows and Amazons series.
©1994 David R. Godine (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Satisfying and Engaging

In this book the four Walker children move from the half-imaginary adventures they enjoyed in SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS and its sequals, to coping with a real, life-threatening emergency: they're alone in a small but sea-worthy craft on the open sea, at night in a high wind. To survive, they draw on all their experience and reading, and especially the boating and life skills they've learned from their adventurous Australian mother and their British naval officer father. They take responsibility, care about each other, and work together. An enjoyable, well-written, well-read book.

There is, however, a bit of a culture gap that may need explaining to children listening to the book, or they'll think the story is more far-fetched than it was in its own time. Today, five children would be considered a large family. When the book was written, five wasn't unusual. Children were also given more responsibility than today, and, correspondingly, more independence.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

fantastical and believable

We love this series, riveting, the right balance of detail and suspense to stay engaged. Our kids are early elementary school-aged and this is at the top of their reading comprehension level and well above current reading abilities. Investing time and audible credits in this nearly 100-year-old anthology has been the best way to get away from tv fodder this summer.
The Walker children are never the victims of their circumstances, are thoughtful and kind to each other, own their mistakes without being crippled by them, eagerly learn difficult sailing and navigational skills, and are the high-quality character and role model I hope for in literature. While the story was a life or death tale, Ransome kept his whimsical and realistic tone. We did dialog with our kids about the secondary storyline about keeping information from the mom until she could understand the whole story without fear for her kid's lives and how the scarcity and expense of detailed communication was a deciding factor (when international calls can be made with small cost from our personal devices today). In summary - spellbound lesson to "use your brain and call your mom".
We love Alison Larkin's narration. There could not be a better job than her dramatic and clear reading with her distinguishable (never annoying) voices for each character.

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Best Arthur Ransome book

This is Ransome's best Swallows and Amazons story. The Walker children are heroic, the storyline clever, and the descriptions of sailing fascinating. A wonderful book!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Is a 'darker' story than the others so far.

Would you consider the audio edition of We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the print version because it's become difficult for me to read.

Who was your favorite character and why?

John is the true hero of this episode

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

had to be the ending when 'all was well'

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The entire series is wonderful!

Would you consider the audio edition of We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea to be better than the print version?

Unfortunately I couldn't get the print version unless by mail order. The audio version of all of the books in the series is awesome!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Definitely! I generally listen to audio books on long drives but I had this on all the time.

1 person found this helpful