Book Review: The Big Six

The Big Six by Arthur Ransome
The Big Six (Swallows and Amazons, #9) 
by Arthur Ransome

5 out of 5 stars

Joe, Bill, and Pete are fixing up their boat, the Death and Glory, with bunks, cupboards, and a little stove, so that they can camp out on the river all winter long. When someone starts casting off boats in the middle of the night, it gets blamed on the boys, and they have to prove their innocence. With the help of Coot Club members, Tom, Dick, and Dorothea, they start their own detective agency to track down the real culprits.

As always, I adore this interesting story, full of nautical knowledge and adorable characters. The plot really keeps the mystery moving as each clue comes to light, and the desperation and anxiety of the characters keeps the tension high, even if some of the plot points are a little predictable. The story is not so much about the mystery, as it is about how the characters follow the mystery. Continue reading

Book Review: Pigeon Post

Pigeon Post by Arthur Ransome
Pigeon Post (Swallows and Amazons, #6) 
by Arthur Ransome

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

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. Continue reading

Book Review: Coot Club

Coot Club by Arthur Ransome
Coot Club (Swallows and Amazons, #5) 
by Arthur Ransome

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads
Dick and Dorothea are determined to learn how to sail on the Norfolk Broads while they are visiting a family friend with a small yacht. Since local boy Tom is getting into trouble with a shipful of rude “Hullabaloos”, they invite him to join them on a journey to southern rivers and teach them to sail on the way. The friends are kept busy dodging the Hullabaloos, racing against the tides, exploring through the broads and rivers, and protecting the delicate birds’ nests that the Hullabaloos are threatening.

Even better the second time (or third time) you read it! Somehow I always come back to this book as one of my favorites; although in this series, they are ALL my favorite really. Every time I read it, I can barely put it down, because there’s always something interesting happening in the plot.

I just adore Dick and Dorothea, and the addition of the intrepid Tom makes for an exciting adventure, along with the redoubtable twin girls, Port and Starboard, and a host of young Coot Club members dedicated to protecting the local bird population. I love every character so much! They are each so original and likeable, and I enjoy seeing how they meet and make friends and immediately plunge into adventures together.

Book Review: Winter Holiday

Winter Holiday by Arthur Ransome
Winter Holiday (Swallows and Amazons, #4) 
by Arthur Ransome

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads
The Swallows and Amazons are planning a Polar Expedition to the north end of the lake, along with their new friends, Dick and Dorothea. While waiting for the lake to freeze over so they can skate, the explorers spend their time building an “igloo”, climbing the fells to “Greenland”, and sailing the “Fram” through the polar ice. But when it comes time for the great Polar Expedition, a snowstorm threatens to ruin all their plans, and only the intrepid Swallows and Amazons can make it through to the North Pole!

I loved reading this for the second time just as much as the first! I am so in love with the delightful Dick and Dorothea, especially because they are not at all nautical like the Swallows. The D’s have to learn how to tie knots and build campfires, but they have their own strengths too, and their own useful knowledge that makes the Swallows and Amazons appreciate them as friends.

I love the Dorothea is constantly writing stories in her head, and I love that Dick gets so focused on whatever sciencey thing he is analyzing that he forgets all about everything else. Best of all, they fit in well with the rest of the crew, while still retaining their own original personalities.

Brilliant writing, wonderful setting, and lovable characters!

Book Review: Peter Duck

Peter Duck by Arthur Ransome
5 out of 5 stars

The Swallows and Amazons are preparing for a peaceful sail down the Channel, with Captain Flint and their new Able-Seaman Peter Duck, when they are followed and attacked by real life pirates! The pirate captain, Black Jake, is determined to kidnap Peter Duck, who knows the location of a long-lost treasure, buried on Crab Island in the Caribbean Sea. Only the brave Swallows and Amazons, with all their sailing know-how, can bring their ship safely across the Atlantic to search for buried treasure with the evil pirates at their heels.

Just as wonderful reading it the second or third time! There is so much action and adventure, I couldn’t put it down! I love how the story guides you gradually from the everyday business of the ship into the fantastical plot twists, so that you barely notice that the story has taken a wild turn at the end. It all seems so perfectly plausible by the time you get there. Truly brilliant story-telling!

As always, I am completely in love with each and every character! The Walker family are so close to my heart, and the Amazon girls are deliciously full of moxie.
Continue reading

Book Review: Swallowdale

Swallowdale by Arthur Ransome
Swallowdale (Swallows and Amazons, #2) 
by Arthur Ransome

5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads

Just as wonderful reading it for the second or third time! In this book, the Swallows are shipwrecked on the far side of the lake and establish their camp at Swallowdale on the moors above the lake. The sailors settle in for some adventures on shore, but the Amazons are being held prisoner by their strict Great-Aunt and have to make many daring escapes in order to join in the fun.

I just love the charming writing style that makes every little scrap of adventure so interesting. The characters are all lovable and with just the right variety of personalities. I adore them every one!

Book Review: Swallows and Amazons

Swallows and Amazons
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I adore this series! They are all so fun and wholesome! Rereading it over and over, this lovely book never loses its charm. From the first page, I’m immediately swept away into the adventures on the lake, following the Swallows as they set up their camp and declare war on the Amazons. I love every delightful character, and I love how with just a few well-chosen words, they each come to life and you feel what they feel as they navigate the wild waters of summer.
Forever a classic!

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10 Favorite Siblings

A list of my top ten favorite fictional siblings! Who are your favorites?
And an honorable mention to Molly and Cynthia, who are stepsisters in “Wives and Daughters” by Elizabeth Gaskell ! They aren’t technically siblings, but they get credit for being so sweet to each other. They may not share DNA, but they share their hearts. Aawww….

Books Mentioned:
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
The Story of the Treasure Seekers by Edith Nesbit
Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit
Little Women by L. M. Alcott
Little Men by L.M. Alcott
Rainbow Valley by L. M. Montgomery
Cheaper by the Dozen by Ernestine and Frank Gilbreth Jr.
Belles on their Toes by Ernestine and Frank Gilbreth Jr.
Lord of the Rings- by J. R. R. Tolkien
Knock Three Times by Marion St. John Webb
The Books of Pellinor by Alison Croggon