Great Northern?

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David R. Godine Publisher, 2003 - Juvenile Fiction - 352 pages
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Finally! Here is the twelfth, and final, book in Arthur Ransome's acclaimed Swallows and Amazons series. People familiar with his earlier work will recognize the pattern: children set out on an adventure (this one off the coast of Scotland) with a minimum of parental advice and interference. Here, the story centers on a desperate race to thwart the efforts of pernicious egg collectors threatening the survival of a pair of rare birds not previously known to nest in British waters (actually, the bird is the handsome North American "Great Northern Diver," more commonly called a loon). Note from the publisher. When we first considered reissuing this beloved series, we asked our friends, especially librarians, what they thought of the idea. No one encouraged us; the characters were foreign, the setting was English, the type was small and the books were too long. Worst of all, one of the Swallows was called "Titty." No one would read them. But we loved the books; they were rooted in reality and had the grit and voice of real experience. The kids were always on vacation. The parents disappeared. Practical information abounded - about sailing and navigating, tickling trout and tying knots. Problems set to children were solved. And "Titty" was for us (as she surely was for Ransome) a favorite; a child with trouble distinguishing reality from fantasy and who drew others into her world. Today, with all twelve titles in print, we're pleased to report that there are legions of Ransome fans, as well as bookstores who welcome each new addition with enthusiasm. The success of fine writing has little to do with type size or page count or characters' names. It has everything to do with good stories,palpable energy, engaging models, and credible adventures; and all these Arthur Ransome provides in spades.
 

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Contents

I
ii
II
26
III
38
IV
51
V
65
VI
79
VII
91
VIII
100
XVI
191
XVII
205
XVIII
217
XIX
230
XX
244
XXI
256
XXII
270
XXIII
279

IX
113
X
124
XI
134
XII
143
XIII
151
XIV
165
XV
180
XXIV
291
XXV
301
XXVI
313
XXVII
327
XXVIII
333
XXIX
345
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Page ii - ... (GN, 139). Even the shape of the plot has changed; the book has, very noticeably, an abstract beginning and end. It begins with a glimpse of an outside observer, the highland boy, whose attitude to what is to follow immediately reduces its stature: "On a hill above the cliff a boy in highland dress turned from watching the deer in the valley to look out over the sea. He saw a sail far away. It was no more than a white speck in the distance and presently he turned his back on it and settled down...
Page 35 - Half an hour later, the cabin stove was burning brightly and the whole ship's company were sitting in the warmth. It was hard to believe that only a few hours before they had been sailing in bright sunshine.
Page 20 - Susan's, showed in the companion way and took hold of the rose knot worked in the end of the bit of rope that dangled from the clapper of a small ship's bell. "Ting . . . Ting. "Two bells! Five o'clock. Tea!

About the author (2003)

Children's author Arthur Ransome was born in Leeds, England on January 18, 1884. As a child, he spent many vacations sailing, camping, and exploring the countryside in England's Lake Country. He studied chemistry for one year at Yorkshire College before dropping out to become a writer. He worked for a London publisher and then for the Manchester Guardian newspaper. He wrote his first book, Bohemia in London, in 1907 and went to study folklore in Russia in 1913. In 1916, he published Old Peter's Russian Tales, a collection of 21 folktales. During World War I, he became a reporter for the Daily News and covered the war on the Eastern Front. While in Russia, he also covered the Russian Revolution in 1917. He eventually settled in England's Lake District with his second wife. In 1929, he wrote Swallows and Amazons, which was the first book in his well-know Swallows and Amazons series about children who sail and explore the lakes and mountains of England. He drew inspiration for the books from his own childhood memories. In 1936, he won the Carnegie Medal for children's literature for Pigeon Post. He died on June 3, 1967.

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