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Pigeon Post (Swallows and Amazons #6)

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  2,353 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
The crew's on holiday, and they turn their energies to mining for gold, aided by pigeon messengers Homer, Sophocles, and Sappho. The adventurers comb the nearby hills for a fabled lost claim, while being shadowed by a mysterious figure they dub "squashy hat." Undeterred by drought, sudden brushfires, and the continuing presence of Squashy Hat, the young prospectors perseve ...more
Paperback, 382 pages
Published March 1st 1992 by David R. Godine Publisher (first published 1936)
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Carnegie Medal Winners
17th out of 79 books — 80 voters
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Best Children's Books of the 1930s
30th out of 94 books — 23 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sixteenth Impression 1949. This is my absolute favourite book in the “Swallows & Amazons” series. Memories of childhood, pinpointed right from the very beginning: “Here.… I say.… Yes.…. That’s me….” Roger swallowed a bit of chocolate un-sucked and unbitten.” Ah! The instant and succinctly apportioned guilt of assumed wrongdoing!

A summer of camping and prospecting for gold in the Northern hills of England. This is a REAL adventure. But the becks (streams) are dry, elevating the risk of fires
Jane Mackay
May 21, 2015 Jane Mackay rated it it was amazing
This story has the highest tension of all of them all so far, with the three crews in the penultimate few chapters facing and battling a real danger, the fear of which has been hovering for the whole fortnight. The children are also getting older, with their personalities and independence within the group becoming more distinct. I noticed this particularly with Roger. This story is a great example of children negotiating the requirements of adults while pursuing their own goals. It doesn't have ...more
I knocked off a star because of the lack of sailing. Which is probably a bit harsh.

These books are not only lovely stories about friendship and imagination. They are also a (possibly) useful description of upper-middle-class life a decade before WWII. A life that was about to disappear - and if you think that John and Roger are 12 (or 13) and 9 (or 10?) and Dick between those ages in these books, you realise that not only is it a childhood that will come to an abrupt and awful end - they are all
Jun 09, 2014 Deborah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just short of 80 years old, this book has aged very well indeed. It was a deserved Carnegie Medal winner and it is one of my favourite stories. It draws the reader into a wonderful adventure during the hottest of summers in the loveliest of places.

In this story, it is Captain Flint who is running the show, even though he doesn't turn up until the penultimate chapter, and has no idea that he is running anything. But it is Captain Flint who provided the pigeons; it is Captain Flint who has inspire
Zak Benson
May 04, 2013 Zak Benson rated it it was amazing
This book was written before 1950

This story is about the 8 children in the Swallows & Amazons series who are imaginative and adventurous and love to go sailing and exploring the area around their summer holiday homes. This holiday the children decide to try go gold mining but as they begin prospering they meet a strange man who seems to have the same idea. They dub him "squashy hat" after his squashy looking hat and begin their adventure for gold while facing hazards like drought, fire and h
Oct 06, 2009 Carolynne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: oldfavorites
On "Masterpiece Mystery" recently, one of the characters said, "I'm more of an Arthur Ransome kind of girl." And I guess I am too. Much as I enjoy fantasy (the background of one of the Inspector Lewis mysteries set in Oxford)I am even more drawn to the wholesome outdoor life detailed in Arthur Ransome's novels. In this book the Swallows and Amazons, with Dick and Dorothea, camp in the hills of the Lake Country trying to find a gold mine. They communicate with the adults in their lives through pi ...more
Rae Ward
Jan 12, 2013 Rae Ward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a book written for children about children it is a lovely piece of work. I first read this as a child and again as an adult. The book is just what it says in the foreword, a piece of fiction based on the author's childhood holidays.

As a wholesome book for children and a book for adults who don't want to have to analyse every letter of the writing but simply enjoy a classic piece of children's fiction, it is ideal. Don't expect this book to be anything other than that and you'll enjoy it I thi
Ian Brydon
Sep 19, 2016 Ian Brydon rated it it was amazing
There is very little sailing in this sixth instalment in Arthur Ransome’s marvellous series of books set in the early 1930s and featuring the Swallows and Amazons, together with the Ds. The Walker children and Dick and Dorothea Callum have made their way to the Lake District at the beginning of the summer holidays. The Swallow is not yet available, however, and as the eight children would leave the Amazon heavily overcrowded they have decided instead to explore the High Topps, the moor land over ...more
Pigeon Post, my favourite Arthur Ransome book! I have to say I was a little nervous about rereading this book in case it didn't live up to my childhood memories, but it was everything I hoped and more. This is by far the most exciting book in the Swallows and Amazon series. As usual, the children embark on a holiday adventure that is part make-believe, part real (orchestrated by Nancy, of course), this time involving gold mining. There is real danger, a lot of suspense, and twists that keep you ...more
Oct 04, 2012 Caren rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
This, the sixth book of the "Swallows and Amazons" series, was the very first winner of the (British) CILIP Carnegie Medal in 1936. Unlike many classics of British literature for children, these books don't involve any fantasy. They are, rather, the down-to-earth adventures of a group of very resourceful children,usually taking place in the great outdoors. The sailors come ashore for this book and go prospecting for gold in the hills and mountains of the Lake District of England. They still call ...more
Apr 14, 2013 BookSweetie rated it really liked it

PIGEON POST (published 1936) is Number Six in the Swallows and Amazon juvenile fiction outdoor adventure series by Arthur Ransome

and features the three groups of children who have already previously appeared in the series: Nancy and Peggy Blackett-- the Amazons; John, Susan, Titty, and Roger Walker -- the Swallows; and Dick and Dorothea Callum -- the D's.

Readers also meet three messenger pigeons named Sophocles, Sappho, and Homer and a geologist called Squashy Hat whom the children perceive as
Oct 31, 2009 Melinda rated it it was amazing
We just finished reading this book aloud in the evenings. It is #6 in the "Swallows and Amazon" series. While not our favorite book of the series, it still is such a delightful book to read.

I was introduced to these books in elementary school. The entire set was probably on the library shelf, but I only remember "Swallows and Amazons". What a fun thing to find them again, and read them with new eyes and return to those thrilling days of yesteryear when the Walker children ran about the Lake Dist
P.D.R. Lindsay
Dec 30, 2013 P.D.R. Lindsay rated it it was amazing

It's become fashionable to pooh-poo Arthur Ransome. It is said that his children are not realistic, too goodie-goodie, or even worse, middle class! The stories are not exciting enough or gritty enough.


Classics are what his books have become and although they are now treated as historical fiction by many people kids love them and read them. Why? Because the characters direct their own adventures and make their own fun. Because the books are full of sound practical information which a chi
Jun 29, 2008 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
As a child these were my favourite books, I loved stories of adventure and my family holidayed in the English Lake District where these books are set so I knew the places they visited.
Whilst on holiday I would imagine meeting the Swallows and Amazons on every lake. At school my friends and I would play Swallows and Amazons. My best friend Sarah and I, being the only ones who were truly obsessed by the books would take charge and we would, of course, be the Amazons. Sarah was always Nancy and I,
Nějak jsem si zvykla, že děj se odehrává na vodě či v její bezprostřední blízkosti, takže to byl tak trochu nezvyk, ale nebylo to špatné. Malinko mě mrzí, kolik prostoru dostává Titty na úkor jiných postav, přestože ji mám jako postavu ráda.
A holubi... To byl opravdu nápad!
Oct 22, 2016 Kerry rated it it was amazing
Yay, this might be the best one yet of the series. Very little boating but lots of angst over having to camp in a gentle orchard. I love how Ransome keeps growing the cast and they all find their own niche. Great peril with fires and claim jumpers while they prospect for gold. It is totally delightful.
Steve Johgart
Jul 19, 2015 Steve Johgart rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Older children and adolescents, or adults who enjoy a good tale about children.
Recommended to Steve by: My mom
Yet another very enjoyable tale in the "Swallows and Amazons" series, my favorite book series from my childhood. Ransome doesn't talk down to children at all; these books are great reads for grownups also.

The last book, "Coot Club", was about only the children called The D's; in this book, all the main characters have returned and are back in England's Lake District in the 1930's. The story is unhurried and full of detail, but remains entirely engrossing. Ransome has a great feel and respect fo
Audrey Driscoll
Sep 21, 2016 Audrey Driscoll rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favourites of the Swallows and Amazons series. Although written for children, this and the other books in the series are great for re-reading when your brain needs a rest from the turmoils of the world.
Aug 16, 2015 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
Lovely. This is a time machine that takes me directly back to my childhood. Thanks, Arthur Ransome, for all your books that gave my dull childhood a meaning!
Apr 23, 2014 Margaret rated it liked it
Shelves: series
I always enjoy these but this one wasn't a favorite. I'm really not liking Nancy's domination over everyone else.
Mar 30, 2016 Cascade rated it liked it
This is my least favorite of the S&A books so far but still a pleasant read.
Jan 03, 2015 Claire rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-lit
Childhood favorite. I reread one from this series every Summer.
Jul 18, 2014 Iris rated it really liked it
Hope they never grow up so they can continue to adventure.
Jun 29, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this one was my favorite of the series so far. Very exciting!
Richard Burton
Aug 13, 2012 Richard Burton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, children
For those who equate the Swallows & Amazons series with largely water-borne adventures on lakes and rivers this book may initially seem disappointing as the action tales place on land. However Arthur Ransome crafts a joyful story of children prospecting for hidden gold in the Lake District. There is a mysterious stranger, abandoned mines and a landscape parched and tinder dry in a summer heatwave. The title refers to the method the kids use to communicate with the 'natives'. i.e. adults. Gre ...more
This is the best one yet in the series! In this one, the Walkers, the Blacketts, and the Callums go mining in old workings in the hills near Beckfoot (where the Blacketts reside). Logan is very keen on the idea of mining, although it certainly sounds like a lot of work. The kids crush the raw ore, pan it, build a blast furnace, and smelt it. They also use homing pigeons to communicate with Mrs. Blackett while they are staying near the mine area. Lots of fun details of things kids are no longer a ...more
Jan 01, 2009 Patricia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
I found and read the Swallows and Amazons series in my early 20s. I am only sorry I did not find them earlier. Stories of the family's summer adventures are beautifully written, and encourage responsible and creative living. Self reliance, intelligent reasoning skills, and strong imagination with these children provide an excellent backdrop for this series of books, as well as strong roll-models for any youngsters reading them.
Mary Taitt
Feb 20, 2009 Mary Taitt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
Another excellent Arthur Ransome book. This one starts out more slowly than Peter Duck. And it gets a bit tedious in the middle, but it becomes very interesting and exciting at the end. A worthy read for those interested in children's literature. The Swallows, Amazons and D's go searching and mining for gold to try to keep Captain Flint near home. And they find . . . well--read it and find out--it's worth it.
Sep 21, 2008 Melody rated it really liked it
If you are looking for an easy yet intriguing read, then you've found them here. The whole series contain stories about four children and their imaginative travels...kind of like the chronicles of narnia but slightly more down to earth, and lots of fun. They made me laugh a lot, and helped me to see life a little bit more brightly.
Mar 03, 2016 Sarah rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite Swallows and Amazons books. My family couldn't stop reading it. It's funny, suspenseful (in a totally non-scary way), and has an ending that surprised me. (My husband saw the surprise coming; maybe I'm just dense?) The premise sounds kind of dull but the story is riveting.
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Arthur Michell Ransome was born in Leeds in 1884 and educated in Windermere and Rugby. His family spent their summers at Nibthwaite, to the south of Coniston Water.

In 1902, Ransome abandoned a chemistry degree to become a publisher's office boy in London. He used this precarious existence to practise writing, producing several minor works before Bohemia in London (1907), a study of London's artist
More about Arthur Ransome...

Other Books in the Series

Swallows and Amazons (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Swallows and Amazons (Swallows and Amazons, #1)
  • Swallowdale (Swallows and Amazons, #2)
  • Peter Duck: A Treasure Hunt in the Caribbees (Swallows and Amazons, #3)
  • Winter Holiday (Swallows and Amazons, #4)
  • Coot Club (Swallows and Amazons, #5)
  • We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea (Swallows and Amazons, #7)
  • Secret Water (Swallows and Amazons, #8)
  • The Big Six (Swallows and Amazons, #9)
  • Missee Lee (Swallows and Amazons, #10)
  • The Picts & the Martyrs or Not Welcome at All (Swallows and Amazons, #11)

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“A pigeon a day keeps the natives away.” 2 likes
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