Books

Swallows And Amazons

Arthur Ransome

For the Walker children, sailing the boat Swallow to an island for a camping trip is a fantastic adventure. But soon they find themselves under attack from the fierce pirates of the Amazon, Nancy and Peggy. And so begins the battles, alliances and discoveries in a summer like no other.

Missee Lee

Arthur Ransome

‘So long,’ called the harbourmaster. ‘Don’t run into Missee Lee!’

The Swallows, Amazons and Captain Flint don’t pay much heed to the harbourmaster’s friendly warning as they set off for China. They are on a round-the-world voyage aboard the Wild Cat and it’s been plain sailing for a hundred ports. But when Gibber, the ship’s monkey, accidentally sinks their faithful boat things take a serious turn for the worse. Separated, captured, miles from home, the Swallows and Amazons are about to meet their fate and the pirate who holds it: the legendary Missee Lee...

In the 'Backstory' you can learn to decipher Nancy's Morse code and find out about the real life inspirations for Missee Lee

Vintage Children’s Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

The Big Six

Arthur Ransome

‘Why shouldn’t we be detectives too?’

When Dick and Dorothea arrive in the Norfolk Broads all set for a blissful summer on the river, they find their friends the Death and Glories in a very bad situation. Accused of setting boats adrift, sabotage and theft, the boys are under suspicion by everyone on the river. And in the meantime, the real culprits are still at large. There’s no choice but to form a crime-busting team: The Big Six. As the evidence stacks against them, can they solve the mystery and trap the real criminals?

Includes exclusive material: In ‘The Backstory’ find out about birds, boats and fish and put your own detective skills to the test!

Vintage Children’s Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Secret Water

Arthur Ransome

'Youll start with a blank map, that doesnt do more than show roughly whats water and what isnt

When the Walker family’s holiday plans are ruined by Daddy having to work, the whole summer seems lost at sea. But a dull holiday for the children is too miserable to bear so their parents hatch a plan. The Swallows are to be marooned on an island with only a blank map and a little sailing dinghy. Their task? To explore and chart the area, avoid the endless mud and survive. And what do they discover? Well, they might not be as alone as they first thought…

Includes exclusive content: In the 'Backstory' you can find out about some real life explorers!

Vintage Children’s Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from Peter Pan and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Coot Club

Arthur Ransome

‘Let fly jib sheet! Slack away main! Fenders out!’

Dick and Dorothea – also known as The Ds – arrive in Norfolk all ready to learn how to sail. They couldn’t hope for a better teacher than Tom Dudgeon. But Tom is in a spot of trouble. After seeing the beastly Margoletta moored clean across the nests of his beloved coots, Tom set the motorcruiser adrift. Now the enemy have offered a bounty on his head. Can they save the birds’ nest from almost certain destruction? Will they avoid being caught by the awful Hullabaloos? Only some brave friends and quick thinking stands between them and disaster…

Includes exclusive material: In ‘The Backstory’ you can test your knowledge of the book, learn about the adventurous author and get some handy facts about birds and boats.

Vintage Children’s Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Winter Holiday

Arthur Ransome

'You know what it's like. Dark at teatime and sleeping indoors: nothing ever happens in the winter holidays.'

Or so Nancy thinks. Then the lake ices over completely and the Swallows and Amazons, along with Dick and Dorothea - ‘the D’s’ - plan a race to find the North Pole. How will they reach it if they can’t sail? By sledges of course! But when a blizzard blows up and there is a mix up about signals, the D’s disappear into the Arctic night. Disaster looms. Can the Swallows and Amazons save their friends?

BACKSTORY: Crack the Swallows and Amazons' code and learn all about the real Arctic exploration that inspired this book.

Swallows and Amazons

Arthur Ransome

'Swallows and Amazons for ever!'

The Walker children - also known as Captain John, Mate Susan, Able-Seaman Titty, and Ship's Boy Roger - set sail on the Swallow and head for Wild Cat Island. There they camp under open skies, swim in clear water and go fishing for their dinner. But their days are disturbed by the Blackett sisters, the fierce Amazon pirates. The Swallows and Amazons decide to battle it out, and so begins a summer of unforgettable discoveries and incredible adventures.

BACKSTORY: Crack the Swallow's code and learn all about the adventurous author.

Winter Holiday

Arthur Ransome

'Well,' said Nancy, 'You know what it's like. Dark at teatime and sleeping indoors: nothing ever happens in the winter holidays.'Nothing - except a polar expedition, full of mountain rescues, blizzards, igloos, ice sailing and heroic work amidst the frozen wastes. For Dick and Dorothea, newcomers to the lake, meeting up with the Swallows and Amazons sweeps them into a wild adventure where they must prove their worth to the team

We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea

Arthur Ransome

'Now Susan,' Mother said, 'And you too, John. No night sailing. No going outside the harbour. And back the day after tomorrow. Promise.'But promises can't always be kept. Within twenty-four hours John, Susan, Titty and Roger find themselves fighting a night gale in the treacherous waters of the North Sea, adrift and in the main shipping lanes. Suddenly, it's real adventure and only their sailing skills can help them now.

Secret Water

Arthur Ransome

John, Susan, Titty and Roger, the crew of the Swallow, take on the job of mapping the mass of small islands round Pin Mill while living on the biggest one. But who are the mysterious savages who lurk in the islands - and is the tribal totem they find in their campsite a threat of attack. ?

Swallowdale

Arthur Ransome

John, Susan, Titty and Roger return to the lake for another summer camping on their island with their old allies, Nancy and Peggy, otherwise known as the Amazon pirates. But immediately disaster strikes when the Swallows find themselves marooned ashore by the shipwreck of their boat. But if they can't have the island, there's always Swallowdale, the secret valley, hidden from the world and containing an extra secret concealed within it.

Pigeon Post

Arthur Ransome

Reunited for the summer, the Swallows and Amazons with Dick and Dorothea launch a prospecting expedition to find the lost gold mine of the high hills above the lake. But the mining camp runs into all sorts of trouble: not only the danger of fire in the drought ridden countryside but also scary encounters with unsafe tunnels. Worst of all is the sinister Squashy Hat, who appears to be a rival prospector and who's certainly a spy - how can they keep working without him discovering what they've found?

The Picts and the Martyrs

Arthur Ransome

The dreaded Great Aunt has invited herself to stay with Nancy and Peggy just as their friends Dick and Dorothea arrive for the Summer holiday. Nancy and Peggy have to become Martyrs, wearing dresses and reading poetry (but breaking out at night), while Dick and Dorothea become Picts, secret inhabitants of the country who must never let themselves be seen. It's a desperate gamble to keep everyone out of trouble - but can it possibly work against the eagle eyes of the fearsome Great Aunt?

Peter Duck

Arthur Ransome

The Swallows and Amazons are sailing with Nancy and Peggy's Uncle Jim (better known as Captain Flint) when their hired deckhand tells them a tale of his younger days - a tale to set pulses racing and hopes shooting sky high. Soon their boat is on its way to a Caribbean treasure hunt and they find themselves up against shark, storm, earthquake - and the vilest pirate who ever eavesdropped at a porthole.

Coot Club

Arthur Ransome

Tom Dudgeon has cast off a motor cruiser from its moorings to protect a coot's nest, but now the cruiser is searching high and low for him - even offering a reward. Tom accepts an invitation for a week's cruise to teach his new friends, Dick and Dorothea how to sail. You couldn't get a better sailor than Tom but can he really stay one jump ahead of his pursuers long enough to complete the voyage?

The Big Six

Arthur Ransome

It's great detective work that's needed now. Bill, Peter and Joe are falsely accused of setting boats adrift and the whole river is against them. Only Dick, Dorothea and Tom Dudgeon are there to stand by their friends and they soon set to work to investigate the crimes and trap the real criminals

Missee Lee

Arthur Ransome

Nancy Blackett, the terror of the seas, has finally met a real pirate - the tiny, pistol-carrying Missee Lee, who has rescued them after their shipwreck off the coast of China. The only trouble is she wants to keep them. forever.

Great Northern?

Arthur Ransome

'I was wrong,' said Captain Flint. 'He's not mad but bad. It isn't only eggs he wants. He wants to take the credit for it. You're quite right. It's up to us, it's up to the ship, to see he doesn't.'Dick's birdwatching discovery turns the cruise of the Sea Bear into a desperate chase. Not only do the Swallows and Amazons have to prove the facts of the case but they also have to dodge the savage natives and evade the ruthless pursuit of a fanatic egg-collector, determined to kill a pair of rare birds and steal the credit. Fortunately, Nancy has a few plans.

We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea

Arthur Ransome

'Like to spend a night in the Goblin?

The Swallows are staying on the Suffolk coast while they wait for their father to return home from China. But although the harbour is bursting with bobbing yachts, barges and steamers, this year there's no chance of any sailing for the landlocked Swallows. That is until they rescue young Jim Brading and his boat the Goblin from a sticky situation and to their delight are recruited as crew members. Mother agrees they can go, on one condition – they absolutely must not sail out past Beach End Buoy and into the open sea…

Pigeon Post

Arthur Ransome

‘Barbecued billygoats!’

Can you imagine finding gold? That’s just what the Swallows and Amazons and Dick and Dorothea decide to hunt for in the hills high above the lake. But it’s a hot and dry summer and water is in scarce supply. Worse still for the troubled campers, they have competition: Squashy Hat. Anybody can see he is a prospector. And talk about squashy hats! The children have never seen squashier. Just who is he and what sort of traps is he laying? Using pigeons to carry messages, braving dangerous mines and fires, the Swallows, Amazons and D’s Mining Company must stake their claim before their dreaded rival...

Biography

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.