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Swallowdale

(Swallows and Amazons #2)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  2,854 ratings  ·  139 reviews
The first title in Arthur Ransome's classic series, originally published in 1930: for children, for grownups, for anyone captivated by the world of adventure and imagination. Swallows and Amazons introduces the lovable Walker family, the camp on Wild Cat island, the able-bodied catboat Swallow, and the two intrepid Amazons, Nancy and Peggy Blackett.
Paperback, Godine Storyteller, 448 pages
Published May 1st 1986 by David R. Godine Publisher (first published 1931)
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4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,854 ratings  ·  139 reviews


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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
...more
Lightreads
Sep 14, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Eva
Sep 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Tim
Jan 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
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
Tim
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In my view better than the first. After holing their boat Swallow, the family camp on the moor in a valley above the lakeside woods whilst it's repaired.
The Blackets, part time female pirates due to the arrival of an Aunt at their home on whom attendance must be danced upon, join them as and when they can.
It's clear that in a way Ransome was particularly keen on the Titty character. In every book she assumes, at some point, a pivotal role. In fact it could be said that generally Ransome wrote hi
...more
Eleanor
Oct 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Michele
May 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Again a book in a delicate condition with a 50p price tag. Oh so much value in a book with memories of previous readings and pleasure in the rereading and remembering forgotten pleasures.
This is why books should always be given as presents. Forget lego, xbox , cars, dolls. This is what remains with me and brings me undimmed delight.
Nick
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nara
Jun 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, ya-fiction
Arthur Ransome's tales of British children out sailing in the Lake counties are just wonderful. Funny, quaint, perfect adventures, with the right amount of characterization, realism, whimsy, and imagination. I have re-read all of these as an adult, and they hold up to time; I can't wait to read them to my son when he's older.
Marina Sofia
Aug 23, 2016 added it
Shelves: rereading
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!
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.
Logan Hughes
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was one of my favorite books age 11 or so. If anything, I liked it even better than Swallows and Amazons. The children get into an accident with the beloved sailboat, The Swallow, and while waiting for it to be repaired, they decide to make the best of it and go on an inland camping adventure on foot. They really outdo themselves with glamping in this one, essentially setting up a small homestead. I liked that the older sister got to shine as the head of their little home, while the older b ...more
Kevin Eng
May 15, 2017 rated it did not like it
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
Tena Edlin
I loved listening to this book. The characters and the adventure are just as fun as in the first book. Honestly, it list a star for me because of Peter Duck. I was seriously sick of hearing about Peter Duck!
15kyriacouP
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and the story is lovely although it can be a challenging at points due to all the funny language and Ship terms.
Mary BG
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
A continuation of the first book. There's a shipwreck in this one which causes the kids' activities to be on land where they continue their camping, hiking and exploring adventures. Both girls and boys can relate to these stories. Set in the 30's (before television) it's the children's unlimited imaginations that are the main ingredient to their play.

Ransome's stories are considered mundane by some. There are no fantastical superheroes, but simply the situation of not having parents around all
...more
Allison Tebo
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens, buy, summer
*HITS FIVE STAR RATING REPEATEDLY* Why isn't there a 10 star option???

RTC.
Alison
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book, but Swallows and Amazons is better. It makes me want to live in the Lake District and be an intrepid explorer/kid.
Leah
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read aloud to the kids.
Steve Johgart
Dec 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Steve by: Mom (when I was in 5th grade)
Another in my favorite book series from my 5th/6th grade years. This book hails from 1931, when an adventure book didn't have to involve spies and dangerous killers, or fantastic worlds with elves and orcs. Ransome takes a story of the adventures of a group of children (and their affiliated adults) in on a lake and into the hills of England during summer break, real-life childhood adventuring spiced with a generous dose of imagination, and gives the gentle and lovely story as much momentum as a ...more
Patricia
Jan 01, 2009 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.
Melissa McShane
Jul 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, young-adult
I wish my summer vacations could be like this: camping in a hidden valley, using a secret cave as a larder, trekking overland to climb a mountain (not a huge mountain, a big hill maybe), sailing and rowing all over an enormous lake. And at such a young age--the youngest isn't more than eight years old. In all, this makes for some good summer reading.
Melody
Sep 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ariel
Nov 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg
Upon re-reading, number two in Arthur Ransome's classic series is even better than the first.
Jenny Thomas
I think this si a great book
Ruth Paszkiewicz
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had no idea there were more books following Swallows and Amazons until I found a shelf full of them in a Children's bookshop! Swallowdale picks up the summer after Swallows and Amazons, although a Christmas holiday is referred to which the reader has possibly not been party to. It follows in much the same way as the first book, with exploring, adventures, pirates and shipwrecks.

The tone of these books really bring back the feeling of being a child, where the bottom of your garden could be a se
...more
Geraldine
This is the "Anne of Avonlea" of the Swallows & Amazons books. Sadly, it's the only one of the series I actually own, I think I may have only read it once in childhood and I can't see myself reading it ever again in adulthood.

It seems that I have taken weeks to read this, and in some ways I have, although that was partly due to 'Life' getting in the way of reading.

If it had been a standalone novel I would probably have abandoned it a third of the way in. I only stuck with it because I'm so l
...more
Heather
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
A worthy sequel to Swallows and Amazons, although it might make sense to read "Peter Duck" first in order to understand the references made to Peter Duck throughout the book (and I mean throughout - in the end I got thoroughly sick and tired of the name!) It's particularly interesting to watch the character development of the imaginative and highly-strung Titty, for example in her attempts to make a voodoo doll of the Great Aunt. I think perhaps that a little too much emphasis is given to making ...more
Ben
Jan 30, 2017 rated it liked it
One of my favorite highlights from this gentle adventure is when the youngest of the combined Swallows and Amazons crew finds the hidden note and coin in the mountaintop cairn built by their parents and uncle 30 years prior. There were times when I just wanted to get through sections of the book, but I rather enjoyed the simple capers of the Swallows and Amazons and the homage to truly care-free adventuring during a summer vacation. If time were of no object, it would be fun enough to read the o ...more
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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

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
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