Kids have always loved stories about peers enjoying themselves far from prying, protective grownups, and Arthur Ransome’s classic novel of summer adventure is one of the best in the genre.
Enormously popular in its day, the book is now largely forgotten in the United States, except in boating circles and by older adults who read it as children.
Although the novels were written more than 80 years ago, the appeal of unsupervised adventure hasn’t changed, and my boys relished the practical details Ransome depicts so vividly: building fires, constructing sleeping bags, setting up tents, blazing trails and cooking.
For kids, the most alluring aspect of the book is the freedom with which its resourceful protagonists roam the lake and islands, inhabiting a world they’ve made entirely their own…
…“Swallows and Amazons” inspires even the most landlocked kid to dream of messing about in boats, building fires, camping out and navigating by the stars.