Peter Duck

Our rating: ****

The Swallows and Amazons, along with Captain Flint (the Amazons’ Uncle Jim) are preparing for a holiday in a small schooner, the Wild Cat. When they hire Peter Duck as an extra sailor, things begin to happen. The notorious Black Jake and his ship Viper begin following their every move. Why? Peter Duck was witness to a treasure burial many years ago and word has gotten to Black Jake. Captain Flint thinks a go at treasure would be a good vacation, so off they sail into an adventure.

Peter Duck is meant to be a story made up by the Swallows and Amazons during a winter holiday. However, this is never explained, so the book could be as real as you want it to be. Here we have a rollicking good time hunting for treasure, fighting pirates, and sailing on the open sea. I thought the story dragged a little at the beginning, but once Arthur Ransome hit his stride, I was carried along and reading at a furious rate. Guaranteed to make you wish you were sailing!

The Story of the Treasure Seekers

Our rating: ***½

The six Bastable children have realized that their father is out of money, and because of this he has no time to spend with them anymore. So they decide to restore their family fortunes by finding treasure. They all sit down in the nursery and brainstorm ideas. Then they start trying them, one by one. Some ideas are reasonable, like going into business. Others a bit more far fetched, such as becoming highwaymen (but not robbing anybody nice).

E. Nesbit wrote this book before any of her other children’s stories. She had just finished writing breezy stories that magazines would print, and the haphazard style lingers here. The Story of the Treasure Seekers is quite enjoyable, but the writing style could turn off some people. However, fans of Nesbit will pick up on her subtle humor, which is absolutely hilarious in this one. I nearly died laughing quite a few times as the Bastables stumbled their way through money-making schemes.