Thurston Hunger's Reviews > Treasure Island

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
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Nov 27, 11

bookshelves: reading-to-the-kids
Read in October, 2011

Again, another action/adventure classic. And unlike the unlikelihood of being truly stranded as in Robinson Crusoe, pirates are as popular as ever (both in terms of popular culture and "Talk Like a Pirate Day" as well as in Somali and other ports of call). The pirate-speak in here was not too harsh, but I think for the boys having me read stuff to them, they can kind of gloss over some details, and enjoy the tone.

I was struck by the complexities of Long John Silver's character...I've always told the boys who bad guys are often more interesting than good guys, and how the vantage point helps to determine who "seems" bad or good. But Silver is quite fascinating, and has a sense of honor, a sense of greed and a sense of self-preservation battling it out, of us? The story does center on your Master Hawkins, a young boy at risk if ever there was one, with an absent father and a mother he must leave behind. So, rule #1 of so many children's tales accomplished.

It is then interesting that his greatest successes often coming in disobeying those who would be perceived as the stand-in fathers. One of my twin boys definitely got wrapped up in the excitement of this version, and the pace is much quicker here than in the version of Robinson Crusoe which we had read earlier this year. Like Robinson Crusoe, after completing this, I rewarded them with a film version, and in this case, the Disney robotic-remake I have to say was quite excellent. A great cavalcade of alien pirates, and Long John is a cyborg (with a rather impressive update for the perennial pirate's hook). And the parrot morphed into a shape-shifting pet, steals scene after scene. In the film version, they might put a bit too much of a saccharine glow on ol' Long John, but they aimed to capture that same interesting duality.

In the book, there is a harrowing bit of bloodsport involving Jim Hawkins that did not produce nightmares in my guys, but was pretty scary I felt for 3rd graders (well, those not playing Halo). Another nice example for the boys of enjoying the ride itself, and not getting caught up too much in the doubloons.

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