'Ahoy! Ahoy! Swallows! Ahoy!'
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.
The world that the children enter as soon as they get off the train in the Lake District is as separate from their everyday world as Hogwarts or Narnia... For most readers, the idea of cooking trout you have caught yourself is as strange and poetic as the idea of casting a spell that turns a teacup into a turtle
There is plenty of excitement, a little danger, a quality of thinking, planning and fun which is delightful and stimulating
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
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!