For anyone who loves sailing and adventure, Arthur Ransome's classicSwallows and Amazonsseries stands alone. Originally published in the UK over a half century ago, these books are still eagerly read by children, despite their length and their decidedly British protagonists. We attribute their success to two facts: first, Ransome is a great storyteller and, second, he clearly writes from first-hand experience. Independence and initiative are qualities any child can understand and every volume in this collection celebrates these virtues.
In the eighth book in Arthur Ransome's belovedSwallows and Amazonsseries, the five Walker children are left on a "desert island" by their parents with provisions for a long stay and a blank map to fill in. Like all of Ransome's books, this is at once a real adventure and a lesson in the practicalities of exploring — in this case, of surveying the inlets, coves, mudflats, and estuaries of "Walker Island." Naturally, there are enemies to overcome (another clan named "The Eels") and friends to meet (who else but the intrepid "Amazons?"). And, as always, the children do it all solo.
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