Have you ever sailed in a boat or built a camp? Have you caught trout and cooked it yourself? The four Swallows, John, Susan, Titty and Roger return to the lake full of such plans and they can't wait to meet up with Nancy and Peggy, the Amazon Pirates. When the Swallow is shipwrecked and the Amazon's fearsome Great-Aunt makes decides to make a visit their summer seems ruined. Then they discover a wonderful hidden valley and things take a turn for the better...
BACKSTORY: Discover the real Swallowdale, swot up on seafaring and learn all about the adventurous author.
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There is plenty of excitement, a little danger, a quality of thinking, planning and fun which is delightful and stimulating - Times Literary Supplement
Delightful...I was entranced from page one. Not only did I like his way of writing about the children, and the projection of the pirate fantasy into the Lakeland landscape. He evokes nature, its power and presence deftly and economically...There are passages in this book of which Wordsworth himself would have been proud - Daily 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 12 Swallows And Amazons books, in 1930. In 1936 he won the first ever Carnegie Medal for his book, Pigeon Post. He died in 1967.