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Julia Jones

I'm agog to know what you'll make of The Salt-Stained Book. Its Flint derives more obviously from the Treasure Island character and is neither a pleasure to meet nor to read about (unless you like your villains bullying and grotesque). I fear the PERIL factor will need a higher rating too ...

Peter Willis

Must point out that Julia's boat Peter Duck does NOT feature in the book of that name. A very frequent source of confusion. It was built - for Arthur Ransome - about 13 years after the book's publication, and named (rather cheekily by its designer Laurent Giles) after the eponymous sailorman therein. It is, though, a boat of great character that thoroughly deserves to be given a book of its own.
PS One of Ransome's other boats, the Nancy Blackett, does appear in a book - as the Goblin in We Didn't Mean to Go ta Sea.


Julia - I'm looking forward to it! Peril factor not withstanding!

Peter - thank you for your comments. Very useful information. I will read both Peter Duck and We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea eventually.


Great review Catherine and I very much admire your 'new' blog - I don't know why I've not found it before, but I'm glad I have now!


Do read The Salt-Stained Book, Catherine - it's terrific fun and I'm sure that it will help modern modern readers to get into Ransome's books. Definitely a higher peril rating though, I couldn't stop reading when I got near the end.


GeraniumsCat: I'm working my way through the Flambards books at the moment, but The Salt-Stained Book is on the top of my TBR pile!


Thanks very much Barbara!

Kristen M.

I believe that this book is on my schedule for the year so I'll definitely come back and reread your thoughts once I'm more familiar with the book. I had hardly even heard of it until maybe last year!


I'd be really interested to hear what you think Kristen. Over here it is one of the big classics of children's lit. I'll be fascinated to read what you make of it, especailly as, like me, you're coming to it as adult.

Frozen Pond

Just thought I should let you know I read S&A to my 8 yr old daughter recently and she enjoyed it. She found it a bit slow to get going (older books definitely have this tendency when compared to modern ones for children, and adults too) but she really enjoyed it and is very excited about the idea of camping on an island and visiting the lake district. She now knows about Scots Pine trees (i showed her one so she would know about the lighthouse tree) and she liked the strong female characters (Titty and Nancy)as she is keen on adventure and the oudoors. She didn't comment on Susan's more traditional role. So a modern child can love it (though she knows nothing about sailing and there is quite a lot of technical sailing stuff in it) but she is used to being read old fashioned books (Milly Molly Mandy, Children who Lived in a Barn etc.) However, given the slow start I am not sure she would have read it by herself (or not at this age, a faster reader might). We will read Swallowdale soon and I am looking forward to Winter Holiday too. I read them all as a child as did my mother.


Thanks Frozen pond, that's very interesting. I think my 9 year old would enjoy this if I read it to her but I am not sure she would have the patience with the first section if reading on her own, as you note with your daughter.

I think one of the benefits of a bookgroup is the slight pressure to wade on and finish as everyone else is reading it too. Whilst you don't want a bookgroup to be a chaore for them, they do need to realise that some books need perseverance, but that you can still get a lot of pleasure from such books.

We too are a Milly Molly Mandy house btw!

Dark Puss

My teenage son loved the whole series when we (and then he) read them a few years ago when he was 11-13. My personal favourites are Pigeon Post and Winter Holiday. Peter Duck and Missee Lee are slightly different to the others and have darker and some fear and violence in them.


I read the Swallows and Amazons series when I was 9 or 10 (about 2001) and loved it, although I was brought up on Enid Blyton so used to reading old-fashioned books. I remember being particularly taken with the charcoal burners. I didn’t know what duffers were, but worked out the general sentiment of the message. When reading as a child I could normally work out unfamiliar words from the context, or sometimes had to ask my dad for clarification. Or I'd look in a dictionary, although nowadays children would probably rather google words. It meant that I probably had quite a wide vocabulary for my age, and in particular a knowledge of quite a lot of food that I’d never seen let alone eaten (macaroons/ Turkish delight/ ginger beer). The books really are charming, and definitely worth reading (or having read to you).


Thank you both for the feedback, Dark Puss and Alice. It is good to know that S&A is still holding its own. And thanks too, Dark Puss for the recommnedations for later in the series.

Aspiring Novelist

I'm 17 now, but I first started reading S&A in year 3 at school, so I must have been about 8 (and the most advanced reader in the class, I took books from the year 6 library...)I absolutely loved the books, and my love for them has never really faded. But, I grew up reading books like Famous Five and Chalet School, so I was used to the writing and the 'old-fashioned middle class' attitude which makes so many people dismiss this sort of book. Many people in my year at school I know hated books like the famous five because they couldn't relate to them. But whether they ever tried S&A I can't say. I know a friend of mine who doesn't enjoy reading so much watched the 1974 film and loved it. (We are both very excited about the new film!)

I'm glad you enjoyed it, it really is a fantastic book,


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