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Swallowdale (Swallows and Amazons #2)

4.2  ·  Rating details ·  2,516 Ratings  ·  118 Reviews
The second title in Arthur Ransome's classic series for children, for grownups, for anyone captivated by the world of adventure and imagination. Swallowdale, originally published in 1931, follows the Walker family and friends through a shipwreck, a camp on the mainland, a secret valley and cave, and a trek through the mountains. Swallows and Amazons Forever!
Paperback, 441 pages
Published 1968 by Puffin Books (first published 1931)
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Emily
May 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Update of May 2013:

Three years (give or take a couple months) is not really enough of a gap in between rereadings of a series I know as well as this one. Swallowdale in particular seems like it could benefit from lying fallow for a decade or so. But I suppose that in 2010 I just didn't dare to allow myself to foresee that my son would eventually appreciate having these read aloud to him, lest I jinx the chances of his liking these books which mean so much to me.

As was also the case in my recent
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Lightreads
More 1930's kids camping/sailing/pirating adventures, this time with a shipwreck! And a cave! And a daring escape!

I think one of the things that's most charming about these books is that they're so detailed. It's not just, 'the Swallows made camp,' it's a five-page explanation of how their tents work, and how they built a fire, and how they made a broom from brush. The educational value is faded with time, but the charm hasn't.
Kirsty
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed, july-2017
Charming, exciting, well written, and a wonderful addition to the series. Swallowdale presents a rollickingly good adventure, with a host of realistic characters; it is sure to delight both children and adults like.
Tim
Jan 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tim by: Arwen O'Reilly
Shelves: childrensbooks
This is (I think) the third of the Swallows and Amazons series, with the second being Peter Duck, which I have not read.

I probably won't read more of these, but I did indeed love S&A and this one.

They are a rare breed, wonderfully summed by a quote on the jacket of the wonderful old Jonathan Cape edition I read. Eric Linklater, in the Observer, writing about Great Northern, another of Ransome's books, wrote "It is perhaps, Mr. Ransome's happiest gift to dress all his invention in good workma
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Eleanor
Oct 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-as-a-child
I think this is definitely one of my favourites from the collection!!
I loved the adventures and outdoor challenges. But also the references to hills and lakes of the Lake District which I knew and recognized from family walks. Perhaps more significantly I really envied the Walkers and "Red caps" freedom to explore independently, without their families. It seems that parents were much more liberal with allowing their children to be independent in this period.
Eva
Sep 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 52-in-2014
I liked this one a little better than the first, perhaps because I have invested in the characters. My son is determined to get a sailboat now. This series and our recent sailing class have really sparked a passion for him.
Marina Sofia
A shame my children are not as hooked on this series as I used to be: yes, the pace is much slower than what they are used to nowadays in books and films, but surely the dream of exploration, adventure and minimal grown-up interference stays the same!
Joan
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any kids wanting adventure type books
This is a classic from yesteryear. I do wish they would bring it back into print. Oh, there are some comments that are perhaps not entirely pc, but none that are particularly uncomfortable. The kids refer to the "natives" and how to avoid them but it is all fantasy. I certainly would have no qualms letting a child read this. The worst problem reaction is likely the same reaction I have had: now I really want to take sailing lessons! There are also comments that may need interpreting by Americans ...more
Kevin Eng
May 15, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
To some, Arthur Ransome's Swallowdale is the epitome of a simpler time. However, I found the book to be idyllic and unrealistic. The simpleminded, childish characters make the novel feel like Family Circus, a relic of long gone age. The book has no real plot and completely lacks character development. When the children get into a problem, they are miraculously bailed out each time by some benevolent adult on the island. No problem ever feels real or important in any way. Swallowdale simply force ...more
Nick
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No sophomore slump for Ransome. Book Two in the series is full of pitch and moment -- great aunts, the top of the world, wounded sailors and Long John Silver. Ransome keeps it humming along right up to the end, and the world he creates is both of the Lake District in the 1930s and full of timeless wonder about childhood, responsibility, and make believe as if your life depended on it.
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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
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More about Arthur Ransome...

Other Books in the Series

Swallows and Amazons (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Swallows and Amazons (Swallows and Amazons, #1)
  • Peter Duck: A Treasure Hunt in the Caribbees (Swallows and Amazons, #3)
  • Winter Holiday (Swallows and Amazons, #4)
  • 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)
“They found, like many explorers before them, that somehow, in their absence, they had got into trouble at home.” 6 likes
“Things might have been a lot worse. Don’t you worry about it overmuch. When a thing’s done, it’s done, and if it’s not done right, do it differently next time.” 3 likes
More quotes…