All aboard The Swallow! Follow Captain John and his able crew as they set sail to Wildcat Island on an exotic adventure to encounter savages, capture dastardly pirates and defeat mortal enemies. An action-packed musical adventure, Swallows and Amazons is a story of an idyllic era, of endless summer evenings and the beauty of youthful imagination. ...
All aboard The Swallow! Follow Captain John and his able crew as they set sail to Wildcat Island on an exotic adventure to encounter savages, capture dastardly pirates and defeat mortal enemies. An action-packed musical adventure, Swallows and Amazons is a story of an idyllic era, of endless summer evenings and the beauty of youthful imagination. Following a sold out run at the Bristol Old Vic and before a UK tour, Helen Edmundson's adaptation of Arthur Ransome's rip-roaring adventure Swallows and Amazons sails into the Vaudeville theatre for the Christmas season. Critics and audiences alike loved this action -packed musical-adventure for the whole family, now given fresh life by the amazing, creative artists behind Coram Boy and War Horse.
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Apr 3, 2007
Just as good years later
Recently my wife read my daughter "The Ballet Shoes". That not being on my reading list as a boy, I looked it up on the net. One review commented that "Ballet Shoes" was a unique book because the children worked for a living in it and didn't 'merely said boats' (I'm paraphrasing the words but not the meaning). Obviously, the reviewer was taking a jab at Ransome's wonderful series of stories about the Walkers, the Blacketts, and their friends and the sailing adventures they all had. These books hold an unassailable place in my memory of my childhood and inspired me to learn to sail at a very young age. Nevertheless, as a parent, I've been less than impressed when I've re-visited some stories by reading them to my daughter (the Narnia series, for instance, holds no delight for me as an adult as it did for me as a child). I am happy to report that Swallows and Amazons offered no such disappointment; I am as happy to read them now as I was to listen to them read to me as a child. Even more wonderful is my daughter's positive reaction to them. Swallows and Amazons is an uncomplicated tale of children having fun on vacation. They live very real lives for the rest of the year, but for a glorious two weeks they are explorers, adventures, pirates, and treasure hunters. Ransome has created a story that is wonderfully told from the perspective of protagonists ages 7-12 that maintains both a firm grasp on the possibilities of the real world and a detailed understanding of how children operate in that world. The crews of the ships Swallow and Amazon are hard working, smart without being unrealistic, and fun kids. They are excellent role models without being too easily classified as such. The stories offer good fun, but also some ambiguity over actions and do pose some real questions for young readers to think about. Some of the language and underlying ideas are a little dated, it is true, but Ransome's fidelity to the ideal of childhood and his genuine openmindedness makes this book, and its followers, delights. I look forward to reading the rest of the series with my daughter and seeing if the others hold up as well as Swallows and Amazons has.
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