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It is well over forty years since I first read this book. At that time, I thought it was the best in this series, and one of my all-time favourites. I was gratified to find that those views still hold true. Oct 04, Caren rated it really liked it Shelves: Unlike many classics of British literature for children, these books don't involve any fantasy.
They are, rather, the down-to-earth adventures of a group of very resourceful children,usually taking place in the great outdoors. The sailors come ashore for this book and go prospecting for gold in the hills and mountains of the Lake District of England.
Pigeon Post (Swallows and Amazons, #6) by Arthur Ransome
They still call each other by their nautical titles, however, with Captain Nancy as the boss, and the able-seamen following her orders. These stories truly do take place in a long lost world. The group of eight children have freedom unheard of for young people today. They are allowed to camp in the hills, only making trips to a nearby farm for milk, and keeping in touch with one of the mothers grown-ups are always called "natives" through messages sent by carrier pigeon.
Each of their personalities contributes to the strength of the group. Dorothea is the writer, always scribbling the next chapter of her novel in her notebook; Dick is the "professor", studying scientific books for in-depth information about smelting gold; Roger is the distractable adventurer who finds the cave with the mineral-laden quartz; Susan just as she was in "We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea" is the in situ mother, sometimes irritatingly so; intrepid Nancy always takes charge; John, as one of the eldest, is a responsible, prudent boy; Titty, one of the youngest, is kind of dreamy and creative, with one of her newly discovered talents in this book being dowsing for water with a hazel branch.
It is just amazing how self-reliant these children are. Their nemesis throughout the book is the man they dub "Squashy Hat" and whom they suspect of trying to "jump" their gold claim. Ransome didn't begin writing these books until he was in his forties, when he moved to England's Lake District. He based the geography of the books closely on actual places, so true fans try to discern the real spots and visit them. Ransome painted the world of pre-World War II British childhood so well, you can visit there just by reading one of his books.
Nov 29, P. Lindsay rated it it was amazing Shelves: It's become fashionable to pooh-poo Arthur Ransome. It is said that his children are not realistic, too goodie-goodie, or even worse, middle class! The stories are not exciting enough or gritty enough. Classics are what his books have become and although they are now treated as historical fiction by many people kids love them and read them.
Because the characters direct their own adventures and make their own fun. Because the books are full of sound practical information which a chi It's become fashionable to pooh-poo Arthur Ransome. Because the books are full of sound practical information which a child can safely follow and learn to light their own campfire, tie safe knots, sail, row, enjoy themselves safely outdoors. And because the Walkers, Blacketts and Callums are 'real' people and fun to know.
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Here Dick and Dorothea, now firm friends with the Swallows and Amamzons, come to spend the summer at the Lake and have more adventures. Nancy and Peggy were given homing pigeons and concoct a plan to haul Uncle Jim back from his mining explorations in South America by finding that much talked about lost gold mine out on the Fells somewhere. It's a rattling good yarn. I shared it with my 8 year old grandson this summer and he loved every minute of it, even sneaking the book to read under the bedcovers.
He was as interested in the simple historical facts like the clothes, the girls wearing dresses, and family life in the s, as he was in the story. He is now badgering his mother to let him go to the Lake District to go sailing on one of the Arthur Ransome Society experditions. Good writing and a good story never stop being good reading. Nov 27, Gavin Felgate rated it really liked it. The sixth title in the Swallows and Amazons series sees the welcome return of all the original characters, who were absent in the previous novel, Coot Club.
This novel abandons the usual sailing theme and is based on the American gold rush, with the main characters attempting to discover gold. The title comes from the fact that the book also features the characters using homing pigeons to send messages back home, although this does feel secondary to the main plot before becoming vital to the plot The sixth title in the Swallows and Amazons series sees the welcome return of all the original characters, who were absent in the previous novel, Coot Club. The title comes from the fact that the book also features the characters using homing pigeons to send messages back home, although this does feel secondary to the main plot before becoming vital to the plot near the end.
There is also a new adversary, known only as "Squashy Hat", who seems determined to get his hands on any gold that the children find, although throughout most of the book he merely appears in the distance as the children watch all his movements, and I suspected they would end up putting aside their differences. Having all of the regular characters back was good as this meant more of my favourite character, Roger, the youngest, whose naivety usually causes him to come out with the best lines. He's a character who seems unappreciated by his older siblings, very noticeable in the first half of the book, before he really proves his worth.
There was also an enjoyable underground adventure that made me think of King Solomon's Mines. The only real problem I had with this book was that I know nothing about the process of panning for gold or charcoal burning, so when the kids were trying to as I understand it extract gold from rocks, I just had to accept this chemistry lesson the book was giving me, and there seemed to be a lot of this in the second half.
But the story did at least have a neat twist that amused me. Swallows, Amazons, and "the D's" Dick and Dorothea are determined to find gold in the hills above their lake before Captain Flint returns from South America. The young mining company begin camping up in the fells and searching old caves for gold, while a severe drought has the locals worried about potential fires. The children have three homing pigeons that are trained to take messages from their camp back to Mrs. Blackett, letting her know the progress of the fledgling mining company.
The Swallows are dismayed to discover that a rival miner, dubbed "Squashy Hat", is creeping about the fells, spying on their expedition and generally being a nuisance. It becomes a race to find the gold and stake their claim before Squashy Hat can ruin all their plans!
But in the end, it will be the pigeons that make all the difference. Once again, I adore every character in this book! The plot keeps me interested no matter how many times I read it. I especially love Dick in this sixth volume. The others really rely on him to be the knowledgeable one of the group, but in this story they especially respect his book smarts, and they even call him "Professor".
He takes that responsibility seriously, and feels that he mustn't let them down. Then I love seeing the way Dorothea is so proud of her brother, and is gratified to see the others accepting and admiring him. John and Nancy are such a great team, leading their crews through any sticky situation. And as always, the wonderful Susan is the one who holds the entire group together. I love every moment!
Jul 27, Melinda rated it it was amazing Shelves: We just finished reading this book aloud in the evenings. It is 6 in the "Swallows and Amazon" series. While not our favorite book of the series, it still is such a delightful book to read.
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I was introduced to these books in elementary school. The entire set was probably on the library shelf, but I only remember "Swallows and Amazons". What a fun thing to find them again, and read them with new eyes and return to those thrilling days of yesteryear when the Walker children ran about the Lake Dist We just finished reading this book aloud in the evenings. What a fun thing to find them again, and read them with new eyes and return to those thrilling days of yesteryear when the Walker children ran about the Lake District of England!
A fascinating aspect of all these books is that the children age as the books progress. The children this time turn their energies to mining for gold, all so that Uncle Jim aka Captain Flint will then have time to join them in some of their adventures. The summer is a hot one, made worse by the lack of rain. So when a fire starts near the mine, it is the courageous children who send a pigeon back to the main house to get help in fighting it! These pigeons had been use to let Mrs. Blackett get daily reports from the explorers.
This time they save the day, and get the fire brigade to the fire in time. Pigeon Post, my favourite Arthur Ransome book! I have to say I was a little nervous about rereading this book in case it didn't live up to my childhood memories, but it was everything I hoped and more. This is by far the most exciting book in the Swallows and Amazon series. As usual, the children embark on a holiday adventure that is part make-believe, part real orchestrated by Nancy, of course , this time involving gold mining.
There is real danger, a lot of suspense, and twists that keep you Pigeon Post, my favourite Arthur Ransome book! There is real danger, a lot of suspense, and twists that keep you guessing right up to the end. I laughed out loud many times, usually thanks to Nancy or Roger. There are also messenger pigeons named after Greek authors, an armadillo named Timothy, and an excellent nemesis with mysterious intentions. As usual with these books, there is some racial terminology that would be considered derogatory or inappropriate today eg the term "Hottentots" is used in the chapter "Disaster", as an uncomfortable description of the children's charcoal-smeared faces.
I think if you were reading these books to your children, it would be worthwhile having a conversation about how things have changed since the books were written, and why it's not appropriate to use terms such as "savages" and "Hottentots" anymore. Mar 29, BookSweetie rated it really liked it Shelves: Readers also meet three messenger pigeons named Sophocles, Sappho, and Homer and a geologist called Squashy Hat whom the children perceive as their rival as they prospect for gold in the uplands surrounding the lake where certain other books in the series are set.
Yes, the story shifts decidedly away from the sailing focus and that may dismay some unsuspecting readers and delight others.
The mining focus allows Dick, the science specialist of the group, to star, but, of course, all the children participate and Titty and Roger each contribute in key stages of the plot Titty in the essential quest for water and Roger in the quest for a mine. The book has an especially slow start, but persistent readers will be rewarded with more danger and excitement in the later chapters than the beginning might suggest. As a child these were my favourite books, I loved stories of adventure and my family holidayed in the English Lake District where these books are set so I knew the places they visited.
Whilst on holiday I would imagine meeting the Swallows and Amazons on every lake. At school my friends and I would play Swallows and Amazons. My best friend Sarah and I, being the only ones who were truly obsessed by the books would take charge and we would, of course, be the Amazons. Sarah was always Nancy and I, As a child these were my favourite books, I loved stories of adventure and my family holidayed in the English Lake District where these books are set so I knew the places they visited.
Sarah was always Nancy and I, Peggy. Whichever of our other friends were roped in would be the Swallows. We would tack our imaginary boats across the Lake the playground and camp on Wild Cat Island a mound at one end of the playground with two large elm trees on it.
I still read these occasionally and can't wait till my own daughters are old enough for them! Swallows and Amazons for Ever! Dec 20, Steve Johgart rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Older children and adolescents, or adults who enjoy a good tale about children. If you like learning new things, the non-fiction section was made for you.
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