‘Why do they call him Black Jake? Is it because of his hair?’ Titty asked. ‘Because of his heart’ said Peter Duck
The Swallows and Amazons, as well as Captain Flint and the ancient able seaman Peter Duck, set sail on the Wild Cat bound for the Channel. But they are shadowed by the Viper, manned by none other than Black Jake - a beastly pirate with a dark plan. Can the children race ahead and uncover the buried treasure before the pirate? Can they survive storms, earthquakes, crabs and even a waterspout and make it home?
BACKSTORY: Find out if you would be a good sailor aboard the Wild Cat and learn all about the real location that inspired the author.
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Full of nostalgia for a time when summer holidays seemed to go on forever, unaccompanied children could sail off on adventures together, and ginger beer was ever-present. And the appeal of such things still remains - Independent
The children are kind to each other, the parents are loving, and there's no violence - it's hard to imagine nowadays, and it's all the more charming for that - Daily Telegraph
Robinson Crusoe meets The Famous Five in tales of sailing and ginger beer - Sunday Telegraph
So what makes these different to any other set of classics? In a moment of inspiration Random House had the bright idea of actually asking Key stage 2 children what extra ingredients they could add to make children want to read. And does it work? Well, put it this way...my 13-year-old daughter announced that she had to read a book over the summer holiday and, without any prompting, spotted The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas...and proceeded to read it! Now, if you knew my 13-year-old daughter, you would realise that this is quite remarkable. She reads texts, blogs and tags by the thousand - but this is the first book she has read since going to high school, so all hail Vintage Classics! - National Association for the Teaching of English
Arthur Ransome was born in Leeds in 1884. He had an adventurous life - as a baby in he was carried by his father to the top of the Old Man of Coniston, a peak that is 2,276ft high! He went to Russia in 1913 to study folklore and in 1914, at the start of World War I he became a foreign correspondent for the Daily News. In 1917 when the Russian Revolution began he became a journalist and was a special correspondent of the Guardian. He played chess with Lenin and married Trotsky's personal secretary, Evgenia Petrovna Shelepina. On their return to England, he bought a cottage near Windermere in the Lake District and began writing children's stories. In a 1958 author's note, Ransome wrote: ''I have been often asked how I came to write Swallows and Amazons. The answer is that it had its beginning long, long ago when, as children, my brother, my sisters and I spent most of our holidays on a farm at the south end of Coniston. We played in or on the lake or on the hills above . . . Going away from it we were half drowned in tears. While away from it, as children and as grown-ups, we dreamt about it. No matter where I was, wandering about the world, I used at night to look for the North Star and, in my mind's eye, could see the beloved sky-line of great hills beneath it. Swallows grew out of those old memories. I could not help writing it. It almost wrote itself.'' He published the first of his children's classics, the twelve Swallows And Amazons books, in 1930. In 1936 he won the first ever Carnegie Medal for his book, Pigeon Post. He died in 1967.