Johann Wyss

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Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit 2014 – The Round Up

Published January 11, 2015 by bibliobeth

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2014 was the second year that Chrissi and I rolled out our Kid-Lit challenge. Again, it was a really fun thing to do which we both thoroughly enjoyed. Please see below for the links to my reviews and check out Chrissi’s blog HERE for her fabulous reviews.

JANUARY – Aesop’s Fables by Aesop

FEBRUARY – Through The Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There – Lewis Carroll

MARCH – Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

APRIL – The Magician’s Nephew – C.S. Lewis

MAY – Peter Pan – J.M. Barrie

JUNE – The Wind In The Willows – Kenneth Grahame

JULY – The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz – L. Frank Baum

AUGUST – The Swiss Family Robinson – Johann Wyss

SEPTEMBER – Swallows And Amazons – Arthur Ransome

OCTOBER – Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery

NOVEMBER – White Fang – Jack London

DECEMBER – The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

So, in the style of the “Talking About…” reviews we normally do, we thought we’d answer a quick few questions about our second year of blogging in Kid-Lit.

1) What was your favourite Kid-Lit book of 2014 and why?
BETH: I am totally torn between three… Little Women, Anne of Green Gables and The Secret Garden. I was delighted to find that I loved all three as an adult as much (if not more) than I loved them as a child. Little Women is an undeniable classic, Anne is just one of those characters you completely fall in love with and I love the style of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s storytelling.
CHRISSI: Little Women. When Little Women is an option out of books, I’m always going to mention it. Oh yes!
2) What was your least favourite Kid-Lit book of 2014 and why?
BETH: I think it would have to be The Swiss Family Robinson I’m afraid. I was bitterly disappointed with this book and expected so much more from it. Some passages sent me into complete boredom and it felt slightly too “preachy” for my liking.
CHRISSI: I’m the same as Beth for this answer. Unfortunately I found The Swiss Family Robinson DIRE! Such a shame.
3) What was the Kid-Lit book that surprised you the most?
BETH: Perhaps The Magician’s Nephew. This was one of my old favourites from childhood (along with the rest of the Narnia series) and there were whole parts of the story that I had forgotten so it was exciting to re-read and remember them all over again.
CHRISSI: Anne of Green Gables. I hadn’t read it prior to this challenge and I was surprised at how charming it was.
4) Have you been inspired to read any other books from a Kid-Lit author of 2013?
BETH: Once again, the writing of Frances Hodgson Burnett has made me long to read another of her books – perhaps we can put her on the list for 2016 Chrissi? Otherwise, I think I’m definitely going to read The Making Of A Marchioness this year.
CHRISSI: Oh yes. Let’s read more of Frances Hodgson Burnett! ❤

Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit 2014 – AUGUST READ – The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

Published September 7, 2014 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

One of the world’s best-loved stories of shipwreck and survival, The Swiss Family Robinson portrays a family’s struggle to create a new life for themselves on a strange and fantastic tropical island. Blown off course by a raging storm, a Swiss pastor, his wife, their four young sons, plus two dogs and a shipload of livestock must rely on one another in order to adapt to their needs the natural wonders of their exotic new home. Inspired by Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, this classic story of invention and adventure has fired the imaginations of readers since it first appeared in 1812.

What did I think?:

One Christmas as a child, I received a box full of about ten mini-paperbacks that were a sort of diluted version of the classics, making it easier for younger children to understand. I remember one of these books being The Swiss Family Robinson, which was actually one of my favourites, so I was intrigued to read the “full” version as an adult so that I could compare it with what I remember. I actually found it quite a different experience! The family Robinson are marooned on a desert island after their shipwreck at sea amidst a wild storm. They must learn to survive on the island with supplies that they can forage for themselves from the damaged ship. They actually manage to do well, all things considered, which made me slightly sceptical as they seemed to have quite a lot of luck with finding particular food to eat, or equipment that they could build a tree-house with etc. In fact, if I was trapped on a desert island, I’d definitely hope it would be this one, as it seemed to have everything they could possibly require!

Some parts of this novel felt quite tedious, when they were building a certain house/piece of equipment as it went into minute detail over every process that they went through, which some readers may find quite interesting but it became a bit monotonous after the third living quarters on the island was built. Hmmm… it was almost like this family was living in paradise! I think the book became a lot more interesting towards the end when the family come across a tribe of native people (“savages” in their words) who kidnap a couple of members of the family, which leaves the father in a desperate situation of trying to find them and appease the locals to ensure their return. The king of the tribe and the missionary who was educating them in Christian values were quite intriguing characters and I felt the story became a lot more readable at this point, when it wasn’t just building another place to live, or finding a new and exciting plant.

What I didn’t expect and I’m certain wasn’t included in my version of The Swiss Family Robinson was the references to religion. Okay, fair enough, the father of the family is a pastor, so it is pretty obvious that he is going to teach his family Christian values at all times. Nevertheless, at times to me it came across as slightly forced, as the religious references were quite extensive. As a result, I think it would be a fantastic book for a church to promote, as it does teach important values – both religious and moral that we should all try to encompass. So, final thoughts, yes I was slightly disappointed as it didn’t fit with what I had read as a child, but I still think it’s a great adventure story with some good life lessons.

Please see Chrissi’s fabulous review on The Swiss Family Robinson on her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit – the titles for 2014

Published January 9, 2014 by bibliobeth

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Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit is a monthly feature I began with my sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads last year. We both chose six books each to represent the twelve months of the year and resolved to read and review one a month. We enjoyed doing it so much last year that we wanted to carry on the challenge for 2014, so without any further ado, here are the twelve lucky titles!

JANUARY – Aesop’s Fables by Aesop

FEBRUARY – Through The Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There – Lewis Carroll

MARCH – Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

APRIL – The Magician’s Nephew – C.S. Lewis

MAY – Peter Pan – J.M. Barrie

JUNE – The Wind In The Willows – Kenneth Grahame

JULY – The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz – L. Frank Baum

AUGUST – The Swiss Family Robinson – Johann Wyss

SEPTEMBER – Swallows And Amazons – Arthur Ransome

OCTOBER – Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery

NOVEMBER – White Fang – Jack London

DECEMBER – The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett