Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Book Review: Swallows and Amazons

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

Swallows and Amazons is one of the recommended books for classic children's literature for Mater Amabilis, Level 2. I had seen this book recommended a number of times but had never read it myself. What a shame! First Son will read this book in fourth grade next year.

The four Walker children are on holiday with their mother and young sister when their father gives them permission to camp alone on an uninhabited island. The book is full of their elaborate imaginative play (along with friends) and their opportunities to grow in responsibility. It's really wonderful and highly recommended.

A central part of the storyline is the sailboat the Walkers use (the Amazon) and the book is full of extensive sailing vocabulary. Because that and the sayings of sailors and pirates are not commonly heard here in Kansas (surprised, aren't you?), I created vocabulary sheets as I read the book myself. I copied sentences from the book with words or phrases underlined. If First Son can tell me what they mean (after reading the chapter independently), he's done. If not, either we'll look them up together or he will alone and then report back to me. If I need any, many of the sentences would work well for copywork.

My only disappointment is that the library has only two of the novels. It will be expensive if I decide to collect the series for our home library (though undoubtedly worthwhile).


  1. I skipped this book because it was not available at our library. I will have to see if I can ILL this. Sounds like it is worth it. Thanks for your reviews. I tend to buy what I can't get, and am stuck with something I know I'll never use again. I love living in the Flint Hills but miss Wichita's library system more than mega stores and malls!

  2. Heather, I definitely think it's worth it! This is probably going to be one of my favorite books of the year.

    I depend a lot on our library, but I'm always thinking in the back of my mind about the books I think I'd want my children to own and read if we lived far away from anything and this one would be on the list.


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