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Winter Holiday

(Swallows and Amazons #4)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  2,085 ratings  ·  98 reviews
The fourth book in Arthur Ransome's classic series for children, Winter Holiday takes intrepid explorers John, Susan, Titty, and Roger Walker, and fearsome Amazon pirates Nancy and Peggy Blackett to the North Pole. Joined by budding novelist Dorethes Callum and her scientist brother Dick, the children plan an "Arctic" expedition. But unforseen events separate the travelers ...more
Paperback, With illustrations by the author, 333 pages
Published 1968 by Puffin Books (first published 1933)
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May 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such is the power of this gentle winter holiday adventure about a group of children turning a frozen lake into a vast unexplored Arctic, theirs to discover, that in the midst of one of the hottest summers on record, I looked up from the page out the window, saw the overcast sky, and quite seriously wondered for a moment if it was about to snow.

This, the third book of the Swallows and Amazons series (I do not count Peter Duck since it is a "made-up" story, and not something that "really happened"
"If only they had any sense," said Susan. "But they haven't got any, not that sort. People oughtn't be allowed to be brought up in towns."

Another delightful adventure with the Swallows and Amazons. This time they are joined by Dick and Dorothea who are visiting Mrs. Dixon, their mother's former nurse, for the winter holiday.
No high seas adventures this time. Instead there is ice skating, blizzards, igloos and a polar expedition.
Everything we have come to love and expect from this series was pr
Jo Coleman
May 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hadn't read this since I was about eight or nine, and it really stands up to an adult re-reading. There are enough cliffhangers that I was quite gripped (will they have to go back to school before the lake freezes? Will Dick and Dorothea be lost in the snow because they are townies? Will Susan ever do anything apart from the cooking?) even though I already knew how it was going to work out. Very good on how children are great at getting completely the wrong idea about how things work and then pu ...more
The "D's" (Dick and Dot Callum) are introduced in this book. The kids are there during winter break and thanks to Nancy getting Mumps, get an extra month to their break. Being winter time, there isn't much sailing, but being this crowd of kids, they manage a kind of sailing anyway over the ice. A few things in this one are rather hard to believe such as Uncle Jim coming home unexpectedly to find the kids have eaten up all his extensive supply of food and being fine about it. Of course, these fam ...more
Mar 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrensbooks
This may be my favorite in the series. In this book, new characters are introduced: Dick and Dorothea, siblings who are not as outdoorsy as the Swallows or as intrepid the Amazons (and thus quite appealing to armchair-type readers). At first they are too geeky to fit in, but eventually are valued for the contributions they add to the group: Dick as the unassuming but brilliant scientist and Dorothea for skills I don't recall - perhaps her practical good nature. When nicknames are bestowed on the ...more
May 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are too many great things to say about this book. Out of the three that I've read of the series so far (I skipped over Peter Duck), I feel this one is the strongest. The mixing of new characters with codes and adventure make for an exciting read that also inspired me.

If you want to introduce a friend or relative to these characters but fear the technical sailing talk in 'Swallows & Amazons' is too much, you should try this book. You are sucked right into the history of these kids witho
Jack Bates
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Igloos! Ice skating! The Lake being frozen 'from end to end' for the first time since the 1890s! The introduction of Dick and Dorothea! Furthest North, sleeping on Captain Flint's houseboat, Nancy's mumps and of course, the Race for the Pole. Top stuff.
Ian Brydon
Sep 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was prompted to venture down memory lane following a conversation with one of my colleagues after he had taken his daughter to see the new ‘Swallows and Amazons’ film, and what a jot it proved. I loved the Swallows and Amazon books forty odd years ago and was a little worried that the intervening years might have eroded my capacity to enjoy the book with the same fervour as before. This has, after all, happened with several books that I have revisited after several years.

It was, however, a del
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is so good, it must surely be a contender for the best children's bo... I have got to stop doing this. It's Arthur Ransome. Of course it's brilliant. But I had forgotten just how brilliant it is.

In this book Ransome introduces us to Dick and Dot. I love Dot, particularly her way of turning everything into a novel - practically any situation she's in, is rapidly summarised as the title of a book and the first line of chapter one, and that's one of my habits too. I'm also very fond of Dick, w
Eliza Benson
This was the first time since childhood that I have read one of Arthur Ransome’s books and I remembered how much I enjoyed them as a child. Winter Holiday never came my way before, so the story was new to me, although of course some of the characters weren’t.

At 484 pages this is not a young child’s book although there is a strong feel of the famous five about it at times. Children going off and having adventures by themselves, or in this case sometimes with Captain Flint, and getting into all so
Jan 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
Arguably one of the best ever books for children and proof if it were needed that Ransome was indeed a master storyteller
Kelsey Thomson
Not as good as previous books in the Swallows and Amazon series..
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thoroughly charming YA novel from 1933 with wonderfully imaginative child characters!
Colin Harding
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm working my way through the Swallows and Amazon series in an effort to understand what makes them enduring childhood favorites. I hadn't read Winter Holiday before -- it wasn't in our town library when I was 10, so it escaped me. As a story, it has plenty to delight -- snowy adventures, real peril, and lots of ingenuity in the face of nature. What's also fascinating is what is completely taken for granted as a basis of the story and which no longer hold true: the dangers of mumps, the necessi ...more
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Growing up the Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome was one of my favorite series. When I decided to re-read it as an adult I was worried that it would not stand the test of time. I was delighted to find that in general found it just as enjoyable now as I did as a child. The characters, writing style and adventures are great and I truly enjoyed the series.
stephen cowie
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another ripping adventure for the Swallows and Amazon's helped(and hindered) by their new chums the D's

Grand read,captures the spirit of a magical long ago Winter,packed with friendship,fun and no little danger.Swallows and Amazon's forever.(and the D's).
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just read this for the third or fourth time. Just homely lovely read but very interesting on history of big freeze in the lake district when Windermere froze over. So frozen in 189 - something a horse and carriage was driven across the lake.
Irene Stupka
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From the 5yo: This is my favorite, best, best! Also: "Nothing remained but a puff of steam, a good smell, and a perfectly round hole in the ice. The hotpot was on it's way to the bottom of the lake [peals of laughter]". -end of chapter 6.
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another “Jewel” in the Crown of the Swallows and Amazon’s series! Very creative , imaginative and exciting adventures for a slightly extended winter holiday! Fast and enjoyable read, even for adults! Highly recommended!
Enola Stevenson
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks-2018
Argh it ends so abruptly! That same wonderful, evocative storytelling that we've come to expect from Ransome...our whole family enjoys these stories. We could feel the chill of the ice and driving snow even in the heat of summer here and can't wait to carry on with the next book!
Mary BG
Best one so far. Changed things up a bit with two new characters and winter adventures. How cool to be able to ice skate across the lake they normally sail on, clear over to the islands.
Roy McDine
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Again, charming as the others in the Arthur Ransome series - heartwarming.
Eva Emmelin
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: läst-2016
To revisit the land of Swallows and Amazons, what can be more like a winter holiday? Next time I'll read this aloud to my kids!
Heidi Hepburn
V - LD

Apr 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tanzen-6-8
Cute book, an enjoyable story about the creative imaginations of a group of children enjoying the winter months.
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Francis Pellow
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a delightful return to the adventures of the Swallows and Amazons. The last book tried to be too eventful and lost the childlike joy but it's back here in abundance. Hooray!
Katie Fitzgerald
This review also appears on my blog, Read-at-Home Mom.

Winter Holiday is the fourth book in Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series, and the first one not set during summer vacation. In this adventure, the Walker kids (John, Susan, Titty, and Roger) and the Blackett girls (Nancy and Peggy) are joined by a third set of siblings - Dick and Dorothea Callum, known as the D’s. This time, instead of sailing to Wild Cat Island or setting up camp in Swallowdale, these allied groups are preparing the
This book is the 4th in the "Swallows and Amazons" series, and is a great favorite of ours, especially in the winter as we too dream of sailing over an iced over lake searching for the North Pole!

In this book, two new children are introduced, Dorthea and Dick Callum. Dorthea (or Dot) is a budding novelist and Dick is her scientifically inclined brother. They are staying for the Christmas holidays at the Lake District with the woman who took care of their mother when she was young. Their father i
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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

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)
  • Coot Club (Swallows and Amazons, #5)
  • Pigeon Post (Swallows and Amazons, #6)
  • 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)
“Only, the beastly Arctic won't freeze,” 1 likes
“The storm came pretty soon," said John. "They won't have got much further before it caught them. We may find them any minute. They'll have got off the ice the moment the snow began."
"If only they had sense," said Susan. "But they haven't got any, not that sort. People oughtn't to be allowed to be brought up in towns.”
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