Swallows And Amazons

All posts tagged Swallows And Amazons

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! ❤

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Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit 2014 – SEPTEMBER READ – Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

Published September 30, 2014 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

John, Susan, Titty and Roger sail their boat, Swallow, to a deserted Island for a sumer camping trip. Exploring and playing sailors is an adventure in itself but the island holds more excitement in store. Two fierce Amazon Pirates, Nancy and Peggy, challenge them to war and a summer of battles and alliances ensues.

What did I think?:

I first came across Swallows and Amazons as a child and really enjoyed it, as a result I believe I borrowed the other books in the series from the library as fast as I could read them! Reading it again as an adult was fun and brought back many fond memories of the four children and their adventures on Wild Cat Island. The book was published in 1930 and was inspired by the author Arthur Ransome teaching the children of his friends, the Altounyans to sail one summer. In fact, three of the names of our main protagonists were taken directly from that family. In the novel, the four oldest Walker children are staying with their mother, nurse and baby sister Vicky (known affectionately as “fat Vicky”) in a farm on the Lake District during the school holidays. The children are keen sailors, especially the eldest John and Susan and when the story begins, their father, who is away at sea has just given the children permission to camp upon one of the uninhabited islands so that they can play at being shipwrecked like the characters in their favourite books, Robinson Crusoe and Treasure Island.

The children are delighted at the opportunity and commandeer a vessel called the Swallow for getting to the island and for using during their stay. It is not long however, before their daydreams of pirates is realised as they spy another boat which bears the Jolly Roger flag and the name Amazon, which visits their island and attempt to claim it as their own. Luckily the “pirates” are two other children, Nancy and Peggy who are also keen sailors and become firm friends with the Walker children after a truce is agreed. The Amazon girls have an uncle whom all the children name “Captain Flint,” a nod to Treasure Island. The ex-sailor owns a houseboat on the lake with a green parrot he keeps for company as he has been practically disowned by Nancy and Peggy due to his recent lack of effort and nonchalance when it comes to sailing/pirating skills! The six children have a whale of a time on the island together and have many adventures as they live out their fantasy of being marooned by a shipwreck.

I think I probably enjoyed this book more as a child than an adult although it does rise head and shoulders above the disappointing Swiss Family Robinson which Chrissi and I reviewed for our Kid Lit choice last month. I remember loving the idea of camping out on an island which is completely uninhabited, making the possibilities for exploring and playing endless. Even though the book was written in 1930, it reads almost like a piece of modern fiction and I think would still be relevant and exciting for children today. Favourite part? The boat war between the Swallows and the Amazons which was both exciting and filled with suspense. Sometimes I found that all the references to sailing went slightly over my head and to be honest, I switched off slightly at any points where the detail seemed a bit technical. Apart from that, it was wonderful to read a book where you had a glimpse into the imagination of children which sadly in real life, disappears far too quickly.

For Chrissi’s fabulous review, check out her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

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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