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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.)
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Jefferson on 02-05-11
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
15 of 15 people found this review helpful
By Annette on 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.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Amazon Customer on 01-11-09
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
By Peter on 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