Bookmark: Swallows and Amazons

Part of our Read-a-Thon 2010 highlight posts.

If you’re looking for some good contemporary (or historical, I suppose) fiction with a fun twist, you may want to check out the Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome. Set in England some while ago, it follows John, Susan, Titty, Roger, Nancy, Peggy, and other friends introduced throughout the series as they sail on the lake and make up different adventures. Ransome manages to give it a real, yet imaginative feel with an overall sense of fun. Some of the books are devoted entirely to the stories the children make up.

Here are some of my personal favorites from the series.

Swallows and Amazons

The original Swallows and Amazons! On a holiday trip to the lake, the Walker children (John, Susan, Titty, and Roger) meet for the first time the wild Amazon “pirates,” Nancy and Peggy Blackett. Fun adventures ensue, including a war against the Blacketts’ Uncle Jim (also known as Captain Flint).

Winter Holiday

Several books after Swallows and Amazons, Winter Holiday introduces some new characters: Dick and Dorothea, who arrive at the lake during the winter. They meet the Walkers and Blacketts there (or the Swallows and Amazons) and are swept up into building an igloo and eventually a race to the “North Pole.”

Pigeon Post

The whole company from Winter Holiday turns into miners as they try to find legendary gold in the hills for their Uncle Jim. However, a mysterious man is following them, and he seems to be after the same gold. There was one weird section in this book that I didn’t like, but otherwise it was a pretty good read!

And if you’re feeling ambitious, you may want to read the whole series! Here’s a list of them in their proper order.

  • Swallows and Amazons
  • Swallowdale
  • Peter Duck
  • Winter Holiday
  • Coot Club
  • Pigeon Post
  • We Didn’t Mean To Go To Sea
  • Secret Water
  • The Big Six
  • Missee Lee
  • The Picts and the Martyrs
  • Great Northern?
  • Some of the later ones, which we haven’t reviewed yet, made it onto my favorites list as well, such as We Didn’t Mean To Go To Sea and Great Northern?.

    Oh, come on. You can at least try the first one, and if you like it, there are eleven more in the series. Pretty good opportunity to boost your page count for the summer, too. Don’t you think?

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