This is the story of the author's life in Camusfearna, a wild and remote area of Scotland, and of three otters, Chahala, Mijbil and Edal, who became his constant companions. "Penguin Readers" is a series of simplified novels, film novelizations and original titles that introduce students at all levels to the pleasures of reading in English. Originally designed for teaching English as a foreign language, the series' combination of high interest level and low reading age makes it suitable for both English-speaking teenagers ...
This is the story of the author's life in Camusfearna, a wild and remote area of Scotland, and of three otters, Chahala, Mijbil and Edal, who became his constant companions. "Penguin Readers" is a series of simplified novels, film novelizations and original titles that introduce students at all levels to the pleasures of reading in English. Originally designed for teaching English as a foreign language, the series' combination of high interest level and low reading age makes it suitable for both English-speaking teenagers with limited reading skills and students of English as a second language. Many titles in the series also provide access to the pre-20th century literature strands of the National Curriculum English Orders. "Penguin Readers" are graded at seven levels of difficulty, from "Easystarts" with a 200-word vocabulary, to Level 6 (Advanced) with a 3000-word vocabulary. In addition, titles fall into one of three sub-categories: "Contemporary", "Classics" or "Originals". At the end of each book there is a section of enjoyable exercises focusing on vocabulary building, comprehension, discussion and writing. Some titles in the series are available with an accompanying audio cassette, or in a book and cassette pack. Additionally, selected titles have free accompanying "Penguin Readers Factsheets" which provide stimulating exercise material for students, as well as suggestions for teachers on how to exploit the Readers in class.
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Gavin Maxwell has painted an astounding chapter in his life which is all the more remarkable for the simplicity and modesty with which it is related. His companions, sea otters, are wonderfully shown for the intelligent, sensitive and playful creatures that they are. Tragedy and comedy are skilfully interwoven. His depiction of the main setting, a relatively small area around a tiny house on a bleak shore on the north west coast of Scotland is made all the more poignant by the realisation that this like many such things, has now gone forever. For anyone who loves the wild and loves those who share such feelings this a beautiful read.
Apr 3, 2007
RING OF BRIGHT WATER SHINES AS BRIGHT AS EVER
I first read "Ring of Bright Water" as a primary school tot, along with the Gerald Durrel sagas and the "Born Free" trilogy. Unlike "Watership Down" and its lookalikes, Ring of Bright Water does not impose on our credulity by proposing walking talking animal characters. Mijbil, Edal and the other animal characters are far too dignified for that. Neither does Maxwell force the unfolding of his sojourn in the Scottish Highlands into a twee little standard character plot. The stories are real and the characters are human insofar as they are meant to be; otherwise they are immortal as animals whose lives enriched the existence of those whom they touched.
Some internet surfing on a biography of Gavin Maxwell would be called for to place this book in a context, both in terms of the Highlands at that time and in terms of the turbulent and sometimes star-crossed life of the author. However, even on its own, "Ring of Bright Water" dances as blindingly and hypnotically as sunlight on the water, and is every bit as hard-edged, freezing and gritty as it must have been to live as a Scottish hermit in the fifties.
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