The original Swallows and Amazons story from Arthur Ransome charts the adventures of a group of children who camp on an island in a lake in the Lake District. This hardback edition is beautifully presented with a gorgeously illustrated sleeve.
The book itself is a nostalgic and evocative story of a past that never quite existed (at least not quite the way Ransome tries to tell it!) The description is the book's strong point - wonderful sights, sounds and smells are conjured up, and by the end we really feel as if we KNOW the people and places. The characterisation is a bit weaker. The children get on ridiculously well, and manage to be resourceful and stout-of-heart throughout everything that happens to them. They're just not especially believable human beings - they're too flawless. The plot is pleasant and engrossing, a sort of episodic trip through a series of incidents and adventures upon the lake.
I'm not too sure if modern kids will really like Swallows and Amazons, but it's a good read for adults who occasionally like to dip into childrens' books. I thoroughly enjoyed it in spite of its minor flaws, and I'm already looking forward to reading the second instalment, Swallowdale.