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Pigeon Post

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The Swallows, Amazons, and friends search for gold in the Lake District Hills—camping out, evading dangers, and staying in touch via homing pigeon. Nancy and Peggy Blackett receive a letter from their Uncle Jim who's on his way home after failing to find treasure in South America. When they hear a tale about a lost gold mine in the Lake District hills, Nancy and Peggy decid The Swallows, Amazons, and friends search for gold in the Lake District Hills—camping out, evading dangers, and staying in touch via homing pigeon. Nancy and Peggy Blackett receive a letter from their Uncle Jim who's on his way home after failing to find treasure in South America. When they hear a tale about a lost gold mine in the Lake District hills, Nancy and Peggy decide to find the mine as a surprise for their uncle. The children comb the nearby hills, while being shadowed by a mysterious figure they dub "squashy hat." Undeterred by drought, sudden brushfires, and the continuing presence of Squashy Hat, the young prospectors persevere in their quest—with surprising results (aided by Dick's knowledge of chemistry). Friendship and resourcefulness, dangers and rescues: Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series has stood the test of time. More than just great stories, each one celebrates independence and initiative with a colorful, large cast of characters. Pigeon Post (originally published in 1936) is the sixth title in the Swallows and Amazons series, books for children or grownups, anyone captivated by a world of adventure, exploration, and imagination.


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The Swallows, Amazons, and friends search for gold in the Lake District Hills—camping out, evading dangers, and staying in touch via homing pigeon. Nancy and Peggy Blackett receive a letter from their Uncle Jim who's on his way home after failing to find treasure in South America. When they hear a tale about a lost gold mine in the Lake District hills, Nancy and Peggy decid The Swallows, Amazons, and friends search for gold in the Lake District Hills—camping out, evading dangers, and staying in touch via homing pigeon. Nancy and Peggy Blackett receive a letter from their Uncle Jim who's on his way home after failing to find treasure in South America. When they hear a tale about a lost gold mine in the Lake District hills, Nancy and Peggy decide to find the mine as a surprise for their uncle. The children comb the nearby hills, while being shadowed by a mysterious figure they dub "squashy hat." Undeterred by drought, sudden brushfires, and the continuing presence of Squashy Hat, the young prospectors persevere in their quest—with surprising results (aided by Dick's knowledge of chemistry). Friendship and resourcefulness, dangers and rescues: Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series has stood the test of time. More than just great stories, each one celebrates independence and initiative with a colorful, large cast of characters. Pigeon Post (originally published in 1936) is the sixth title in the Swallows and Amazons series, books for children or grownups, anyone captivated by a world of adventure, exploration, and imagination.

30 review for Pigeon Post

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tharindu Dissanayake

    ' "A pigeon a day keeps the natives away." NANCY BLACKETT ' "Shiver my timbers!... Done it after all! Barbecued billigoats!... Giminy!... Golly!... Forty million thousand pieces of eight!" Made it halfway through the Swallows and Amazons, and it just keeps on getting better. I was anticipating kind of a repetition after how the Coot Club turned out, but this is way way better. And it's always great having the old gang back. For me, this one is one of the best of the series so far, maintaining the ' "A pigeon a day keeps the natives away." NANCY BLACKETT ' "Shiver my timbers!... Done it after all! Barbecued billigoats!... Giminy!... Golly!... Forty million thousand pieces of eight!" Made it halfway through the Swallows and Amazons, and it just keeps on getting better. I was anticipating kind of a repetition after how the Coot Club turned out, but this is way way better. And it's always great having the old gang back. For me, this one is one of the best of the series so far, maintaining the same level as the first book and Swallowdale. " 'S.A.D. MINING COMPANY.' 'What does it mean?' said Roger. 'Swallows, Amazons and D's Mining Company, you bone-headed young galoot.' "

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sho

    I knocked off a star because of the lack of sailing. Which is probably a bit harsh. These books are not only lovely stories about friendship and imagination. They are also a (possibly) useful description of upper-middle-class life a decade before WWII. A life that was about to disappear - and if you think that John and Roger are 12 (or 13) and 9 (or 10?) and Dick between those ages in these books, you realise that not only is it a childhood that will come to an abrupt and awful end - they are all I knocked off a star because of the lack of sailing. Which is probably a bit harsh. These books are not only lovely stories about friendship and imagination. They are also a (possibly) useful description of upper-middle-class life a decade before WWII. A life that was about to disappear - and if you think that John and Roger are 12 (or 13) and 9 (or 10?) and Dick between those ages in these books, you realise that not only is it a childhood that will come to an abrupt and awful end - they are all old enough to be seriously involved in that war. There is no overshadowing of that in the writing, of course Ransome, along with many others of the time, could probably see it coming so the story remains light and interesting simply for what it is. The Swallows, the Amazons and Dick and Dorothea are on holiday in the lakes at the beginning of the summer holiday. It's already hot and there is a danger of fires as it hasn't rained for weeks. The theme of this adventure is prospecting for gold. There is camping, pemmican, grog and the usual "shiver me timbers" type comments. Susan is, as usual, the ersatz mother, cooking and making sure the others clean their teeth and get enough sleep. John is adventurous but always aware that as the oldest (boy) he is, and will be held responsible for any mishaps. Nancy is a natural leader, impulsive and prone to excitement but she defers to John in a manner probably more in keeping with the 1930s than she might if the series was set in the early 21st century. In this there is a near disaster prompted, I feel, by Roger wanting to show that he is no longer the Ship's Boy of the first book who could only "swim" if he kept one foot on the bottom. Peggy never really gets fleshed out, which is a shame as both she and Nancy are, for me, by far the most interesting characters. Because they're pirates, of course. And they have a great aunt in Harrogate, like me, so I can identify a lot more with those two than the others (although really, with also having a father in the military I can deeply empathise with those four too) And then there is Dick. In some ways I like him. Studious and clever and not really one of the gang, I usually feel he looks up to John and goes around with the others because he'd like to be a bit more like them, and to humour his sister. But in the end he really is happier with his books and science. He's a bit of a prototype for the hugely annoying Abby in NCIS or the two excruciatingly painful British boffins in the Agents of SHIELD series (plus countless other TV series and films). so in other ways I really don't like his character even though he is extremely important in terms of moving the plot on. Yet again I can't help but wonder where the Swallows And Amazons of this era would go on holiday? Would they be allowed to camp in the wilds of the Lake District, unsupervised for the most part* for weeks at a time? I think not, sadly, and that is another reason why I think everyone should at least give these books a go. They are very much of their time, though, in so many ways. In others not so much, the girls do as much as the boys and have an equal voice in what they do, how and when. One last thing. I love the adults (natives) - although Captain Flint is infuriating in his lack of communication. I always remember the battle in the first book, him walking the plank and the party afterwards and I remember that he is A Good Sort. Oh and looking at this story with the eyes of a mother: I'm horrified. I've gone Native! *not completely. In this they use carrier pigeons to communicate with Nancy and Peggy's mother, and go to a farm on a daily basis to buy milk and borrow tools.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jane Mackay

    This story has the highest tension of all of them all so far, with the three crews in the penultimate few chapters facing and battling a real danger, the fear of which has been hovering for the whole fortnight. The children are also getting older, with their personalities and independence within the group becoming more distinct. I noticed this particularly with Roger. This story is a great example of children negotiating the requirements of adults while pursuing their own goals. It doesn't have This story has the highest tension of all of them all so far, with the three crews in the penultimate few chapters facing and battling a real danger, the fear of which has been hovering for the whole fortnight. The children are also getting older, with their personalities and independence within the group becoming more distinct. I noticed this particularly with Roger. This story is a great example of children negotiating the requirements of adults while pursuing their own goals. It doesn't have the peacefulness of the other books (the fantastical Peter Duck excepted), but is a ripping good Swallows, Amazons, and D's tale! [Later this same day] I go into withdrawal every time I finish one of these books. I miss the children and the world they inhabit and create. While reading, I think often of the type of adults these children would have become, and wish that they had been real people so they could have gone into the world and contributed to it, which there is no doubt they would have done.

  4. 4 out of 5

    ^

    Sixteenth Impression 1949. This is my absolute favourite book in the “Swallows & Amazons” series. Memories of childhood, pinpointed right from the very beginning: “Here.… I say.… Yes.…. That’s me….” Roger swallowed a bit of chocolate un-sucked and unbitten.” Ah! The instant and succinctly apportioned guilt of assumed wrongdoing! A summer of camping and prospecting for gold in the Northern hills of England. This is a REAL adventure. But the becks (streams) are dry, elevating the risk of fires on t Sixteenth Impression 1949. This is my absolute favourite book in the “Swallows & Amazons” series. Memories of childhood, pinpointed right from the very beginning: “Here.… I say.… Yes.…. That’s me….” Roger swallowed a bit of chocolate un-sucked and unbitten.” Ah! The instant and succinctly apportioned guilt of assumed wrongdoing! A summer of camping and prospecting for gold in the Northern hills of England. This is a REAL adventure. But the becks (streams) are dry, elevating the risk of fires on the moors; and exactly what is “Squashy-hat” getting up to? “Rope” is not simply rope, but is instead “Alpine Rope”; bicycles are “Dromedaries”, corned beef is elevated to “Pemmican”. Countless reviews must have been written about this book. It’s a must-read for every child aged 8 – 15, not only to develop thinking and imagination; but also branch out and acquire the necessary practical and safety skills to enjoy the intoxicating pleasures and challenges of hill walking in the wilder parts of Britain.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Catalina

    This is a very special book. I think I was about eight years old and very sick when I first read it. It was the biggest book I’d ever read up to then, and the first of the Swallows and Amazons series for me. I was utterly enchanted by the Swallows and Amazons’ adventures. I’ve read all of them a million times over and my copy of Pigeon Post is falling to bits and dog eared and held together with yellowing sellotape. I wear my lovely woolly bright red Amazon hat October through February (it’s sti This is a very special book. I think I was about eight years old and very sick when I first read it. It was the biggest book I’d ever read up to then, and the first of the Swallows and Amazons series for me. I was utterly enchanted by the Swallows and Amazons’ adventures. I’ve read all of them a million times over and my copy of Pigeon Post is falling to bits and dog eared and held together with yellowing sellotape. I wear my lovely woolly bright red Amazon hat October through February (it’s still too big for me but it’s very soft and it has a tassel). These characters have helped me through a lot. Swallows and Amazons forever! 🏴‍☠️

  6. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Man, do I love this book series. This one was a particular favorite (possibly the no sailing helped! HA!). These books are perfect read alouds for my 8 year old. They are so full of things to look up and talk about and learn about, while still being so sweet and simple. Books just aren't written like these anymore! Man, do I love this book series. This one was a particular favorite (possibly the no sailing helped! HA!). These books are perfect read alouds for my 8 year old. They are so full of things to look up and talk about and learn about, while still being so sweet and simple. Books just aren't written like these anymore!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Katrina

    Not my favourite as I hate the thought of anyone smashing up mountains looking for gold, 3.5 ideally.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    Just short of 80 years old, this book has aged very well indeed. It was a deserved Carnegie Medal winner and it is one of my favourite stories. It draws the reader into a wonderful adventure during the hottest of summers in the loveliest of places. In this story, it is Captain Flint who is running the show, even though he doesn't turn up until the penultimate chapter, and has no idea that he is running anything. But it is Captain Flint who provided the pigeons; it is Captain Flint who has inspire Just short of 80 years old, this book has aged very well indeed. It was a deserved Carnegie Medal winner and it is one of my favourite stories. It draws the reader into a wonderful adventure during the hottest of summers in the loveliest of places. In this story, it is Captain Flint who is running the show, even though he doesn't turn up until the penultimate chapter, and has no idea that he is running anything. But it is Captain Flint who provided the pigeons; it is Captain Flint who has inspired Nancy (and therefore the others) to hunt for gold; it is Captain Flint who has sent Timothy on ahead (and there would be no story without Timothy); it is Captain Flint who has the equipment the children need, and of course if he'd been there they would have asked him before borrowing it ... Ransome handles a rather large main cast of eight children very well indeed. They all have their moments and they are all beautifully drawn (in the literal sense, not the pictorial one - I do like Ransome's drawings, they are charming, but they are not high in artistic merit). None of the children is perfect but they are all likeable, and Ransome's ear for natural dialogue (adults as well as children) is spot on (my favourite line being the one about no more brain than a cheese, from Mrs Tyson; but Roger's 'She was afraid you might,' provides a second laugh-out-loud moment). There is also, once again, very real (and, crucially, realistic) danger. Ransome never overplays this and the drama is restrained, but it still has an impact. The plot is logical and well-paced and the resolution is quite beautifully done, but Ransome keeps you wondering how on earth he is going to pull it out of the bag right up to the end. Arthur Ransome at his very best, which is head and shoulders above pretty well everybody else.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    “Term time was gone as if it had been wiped out. Real life was beginning again.” Summer holidays once again for the Swallows and Amazons. Except this summer they are joined by (surprise, surprise) the D’s. After ‘Winter Holiday’ I’m sure Dick & Dorothea are more than ready to be at the lake rather than the city. As the book begins the lake area is in the grips of a right drought. (It was like reading descriptions of recent California droughts and fears of fires. Which the residents of the Lake Di “Term time was gone as if it had been wiped out. Real life was beginning again.” Summer holidays once again for the Swallows and Amazons. Except this summer they are joined by (surprise, surprise) the D’s. After ‘Winter Holiday’ I’m sure Dick & Dorothea are more than ready to be at the lake rather than the city. As the book begins the lake area is in the grips of a right drought. (It was like reading descriptions of recent California droughts and fears of fires. Which the residents of the Lake District take seriously.) The lake level is down. The Swallows boat is in dry dock until their parents are able to come. So the Swallows, Amazons and D’s are camping in the Blackett’s (Nancy & Peggy: Amazons) back garden. So many things have happened and long story short they all decide to become prospectors for gold in the fells surrounding the lake. The Swallows, Amazons and D’s Mining. What follows is lots of convincing mom, camping, mysterious lurker, old prospector, caves, missing maps and looking for a vein of gold. The title of the book is my favorite. To be able to keep mom happy (& sane) there had to be a way of reassuring her each day they were safe. So three pigeons are now part of the team; ‘posting’ a message home each day. Maybe a precursor to our cell phone? Except better connection. 😂 Another solid story. As I began the story I felt as Titty and Roger did at the end of Chapter 2: “Titty lying in her sleeping-bag sniffed happily at the clean smell of grass and canvas. She wriggled a hand out into the night to feel the dewy grass so near. ‘Rogie ,’ she whispered. ‘Can you hear?’ ‘Yes,’ said Roger from the next tent. ‘This time last night we were still at school.’ ‘Well, we aren’t now,’ said Roger.” Oh those were the days!!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    Every helicopter parent of this century should read this book. At this point in the adventures of the Swallows and Amazons, there are 8 kids involved from 3 families, and they are camping, prospecting for gold, making charcoal, smelting (if that's the right word), and attempting to create gold ingots. Oh yes, and spying on adults, cozening parents, and generally laying waste to the countryside and the peace and quiet of Northern England. It's splendid fun, and not an adult in sight. Health and s Every helicopter parent of this century should read this book. At this point in the adventures of the Swallows and Amazons, there are 8 kids involved from 3 families, and they are camping, prospecting for gold, making charcoal, smelting (if that's the right word), and attempting to create gold ingots. Oh yes, and spying on adults, cozening parents, and generally laying waste to the countryside and the peace and quiet of Northern England. It's splendid fun, and not an adult in sight. Health and safety? Pah! These kids check in with their parents via carrier pigeon. Really. And they're all still alive at the end of their adventures. Only minor burns and bruises. The adventures of these marvelous children seem as far from the present day as Ancient Romans. Or Martians. Only Bilbo Baggins had more fun. And he required magic. These children make their own magic.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    The next in the series finds the eight children (four Walker, two Blackett, and two D’s) ready for a holiday in the Lake District. Nancy has a plan for hunting for gold in the old mine workings in the fells, but there is a drought, and none of the adults want them to go camping in the countryside. All the children have their moment in the sun, and there are many exciting moments as the children use homing pigeons for communication, dowse for water, make charcoal, try to make an ingot, and more, The next in the series finds the eight children (four Walker, two Blackett, and two D’s) ready for a holiday in the Lake District. Nancy has a plan for hunting for gold in the old mine workings in the fells, but there is a drought, and none of the adults want them to go camping in the countryside. All the children have their moment in the sun, and there are many exciting moments as the children use homing pigeons for communication, dowse for water, make charcoal, try to make an ingot, and more, but the plot relies too much on some unlikely behavior to maintain suspense. 3.5 stars

  12. 4 out of 5

    Waffle

    Another summer adventure joyfully spent with John, Susan, Nancy, Peggy, Titty, Roger, Dorothea, and Dick. They can’t all sail yet, so they set out to mine for gold in the hills. Along the way there’s invention, a little magic, messages sent by pigeon, a (false, shy) rival, hard work, actual mortal danger, and songs around the campfire. The story contrasts the group’s fire safety measures to a group of careless tourists, who don’t look out for what they’ve left behind in a hot, dry, drought. It hi Another summer adventure joyfully spent with John, Susan, Nancy, Peggy, Titty, Roger, Dorothea, and Dick. They can’t all sail yet, so they set out to mine for gold in the hills. Along the way there’s invention, a little magic, messages sent by pigeon, a (false, shy) rival, hard work, actual mortal danger, and songs around the campfire. The story contrasts the group’s fire safety measures to a group of careless tourists, who don’t look out for what they’ve left behind in a hot, dry, drought. It hits different now, to be among friends, in nature, with nothing to do but be and enjoy. My disclaimer to these novels is always that the kids use language and describe indigenous people in ways that I understand to be harmful. YMMV.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    With this book, the series has edged a little too far into the preposterous for me. On the one hand, the dowsing, the blast furnace and so forth and on the other, too many hair’s breadth escapes from serious danger or death, where earlier books seemed more reality based. I’m also not hugely fond of Dorothea and Dick, although I acknowledge that Dick was a necessity to this plot. Still the same independence and ability to problem-solve that make the series so compelling.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ogden Jones

    I found this book in Emily's room. Do you remember it? It is a lark. These English kids on summer holiday go on crazy adventures with little or no parental supervision. Little Roger wants to climb into an old collapsing mine shaft? OK dear, just be home in time for dinner, etc. In this one they "mine for gold". The part where they describe the inventions they make is actually pretty cool. THese are old childrens books - this one from 1936. I found this book in Emily's room. Do you remember it? It is a lark. These English kids on summer holiday go on crazy adventures with little or no parental supervision. Little Roger wants to climb into an old collapsing mine shaft? OK dear, just be home in time for dinner, etc. In this one they "mine for gold". The part where they describe the inventions they make is actually pretty cool. THese are old childrens books - this one from 1936.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Hepburn

    B - LD Placeholder

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kitty

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It's quite boring at the beginning, but after a couple of chapters it gets more and more exciting as they find "gold". This book has Dick and Dorothea in it. It's quite boring at the beginning, but after a couple of chapters it gets more and more exciting as they find "gold". This book has Dick and Dorothea in it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Zak Benson

    This book was written before 1950 This story is about the 8 children in the Swallows & Amazons series who are imaginative and adventurous and love to go sailing and exploring the area around their summer holiday homes. This holiday the children decide to try go gold mining but as they begin prospering they meet a strange man who seems to have the same idea. They dub him "squashy hat" after his squashy looking hat and begin their adventure for gold while facing hazards like drought, fire and hunge This book was written before 1950 This story is about the 8 children in the Swallows & Amazons series who are imaginative and adventurous and love to go sailing and exploring the area around their summer holiday homes. This holiday the children decide to try go gold mining but as they begin prospering they meet a strange man who seems to have the same idea. They dub him "squashy hat" after his squashy looking hat and begin their adventure for gold while facing hazards like drought, fire and hunger on their way. (view spoiler)[Unfortunately the gold they find is not actually gold, but they are happy once they find out it is a very pure seam of copper. (hide spoiler)] I really like this book and all of the others I have read in the series. Even though it was written a while ago and is set a while ago, I love how you can get to know the characters throughout the series. I really liked the surprise at the ending.(view spoiler)[ The characters were waiting throughout the book for what they thought was an armadillo that their uncle was sending them. It turned out that the armadillo that they thought had died on the voyage home, was actually squashy hat who was a friend of their uncle. (hide spoiler)]

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rog Harrison

    With the libraries being shut I have been reading books which I own but had not read for years and I enjoyed re-reading the seven books by the author which I had bought in 1997 in the hope that my daughter might like them. It reminded me that when I was a child my favourite had been this one so I bought a second hand copy on-line. I also bought the first four books so now I own all twelve. This was first published in 1936 and features the Swallows and Amazons and Dick and Dorothea. The children a With the libraries being shut I have been reading books which I own but had not read for years and I enjoyed re-reading the seven books by the author which I had bought in 1997 in the hope that my daughter might like them. It reminded me that when I was a child my favourite had been this one so I bought a second hand copy on-line. I also bought the first four books so now I own all twelve. This was first published in 1936 and features the Swallows and Amazons and Dick and Dorothea. The children are camping in the Lake District and hoping to find gold. They communicate, from their camp, with Mrs Blackett (the mother of the two Amazons) by carrier pigeon (hence the title). It is an exciting read and the children are very resourceful though they have some narrow escapes. Sixty years since I first read it and I still really enjoyed it. I think it may still be my favourite though I have yet to re-read the first four books.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Carolynne

    On "Masterpiece Mystery" recently, one of the characters said, "I'm more of an Arthur Ransome kind of girl." And I guess I am too. Much as I enjoy fantasy (the background of one of the Inspector Lewis mysteries set in Oxford)I am even more drawn to the wholesome outdoor life detailed in Arthur Ransome's novels. In this book the Swallows and Amazons, with Dick and Dorothea, camp in the hills of the Lake Country trying to find a gold mine. They communicate with the adults in their lives through pi On "Masterpiece Mystery" recently, one of the characters said, "I'm more of an Arthur Ransome kind of girl." And I guess I am too. Much as I enjoy fantasy (the background of one of the Inspector Lewis mysteries set in Oxford)I am even more drawn to the wholesome outdoor life detailed in Arthur Ransome's novels. In this book the Swallows and Amazons, with Dick and Dorothea, camp in the hills of the Lake Country trying to find a gold mine. They communicate with the adults in their lives through pigeons. There is a slight mystery, but the real fun lies in seeing how they manage camping on their own (as with everything else, they are competent campers!)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Yet another great book from one of our favorite series. The kids and I enjoyed the last book, Coot Club, away from the beloved Lake District, but it was great to get back to the area with our favorite Walker and Blackett kids even though it was all camping and mining adventures rather than sailing. The adventures and autonomy of this group of kids is so inspiring and delightful. We ended up listening to this one more slowly than others since we are in the car less these days. My 6.5yo daughter i Yet another great book from one of our favorite series. The kids and I enjoyed the last book, Coot Club, away from the beloved Lake District, but it was great to get back to the area with our favorite Walker and Blackett kids even though it was all camping and mining adventures rather than sailing. The adventures and autonomy of this group of kids is so inspiring and delightful. We ended up listening to this one more slowly than others since we are in the car less these days. My 6.5yo daughter in particular was okay with this because she didn’t want this book to end. Good thing we still have six more books left in the series to assuage her!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rae Ward

    As a book written for children about children it is a lovely piece of work. I first read this as a child and again as an adult. The book is just what it says in the foreword, a piece of fiction based on the author's childhood holidays. As a wholesome book for children and a book for adults who don't want to have to analyse every letter of the writing but simply enjoy a classic piece of children's fiction, it is ideal. Don't expect this book to be anything other than that and you'll enjoy it I thi As a book written for children about children it is a lovely piece of work. I first read this as a child and again as an adult. The book is just what it says in the foreword, a piece of fiction based on the author's childhood holidays. As a wholesome book for children and a book for adults who don't want to have to analyse every letter of the writing but simply enjoy a classic piece of children's fiction, it is ideal. Don't expect this book to be anything other than that and you'll enjoy it I think.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Maureen E

    This has always been one of my favorite Swallows and Amazons books and I loved re-reading it. [Nov. 2010]

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    My son and I are making our way through all the Swallows and Amazons books. Have enjoyed all of them so far but this one is up there with the best. Having been diverted away from the main Swallows and Amazons cast in the last book, this time the crew are all back together, including the D's which is very welcome. Seeking to mine for gold deposits in the hills amidst a massive drought they are required to communicate via pigeon with the farmhouse so that they can be kept track of. There are both My son and I are making our way through all the Swallows and Amazons books. Have enjoyed all of them so far but this one is up there with the best. Having been diverted away from the main Swallows and Amazons cast in the last book, this time the crew are all back together, including the D's which is very welcome. Seeking to mine for gold deposits in the hills amidst a massive drought they are required to communicate via pigeon with the farmhouse so that they can be kept track of. There are both some dramatic twists and turns involving the threat of fire and collapsing mine shafts, some ongoing mysteries that unfurl throughout the story (where is the mysterious Timothy Captain Flint has sent on? Who is their competitor prospector who they call 'Squashy Hat'? Is there really gold in them there hills?) and lots of nice dialogue, description and demonstration of the characters of the different children. With all of that together I would say this one is probably the closest to a Scooby Doo episode which is intended as a compliment. Overall, an enjoyable read, up there with the best of the series and plenty going on to keep you interested. Now, onto the next one.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ric Cheyney

    TIMBERS LARGELY UNSHIVERED My annual summer treat of a Ransome book was not so enjoyable this time. The gang is all there, and the story has some moving and exciting moments, plus a couple of funny ones, but somehow the magic was not working so well. As other reviewers have noted, this is a landlocked story with only a few references to boats and sailing. This may explain the lack of impact. Also, I have to remind people of William Blake's immortal words: "A robin redbreast in a cage puts all Heav TIMBERS LARGELY UNSHIVERED My annual summer treat of a Ransome book was not so enjoyable this time. The gang is all there, and the story has some moving and exciting moments, plus a couple of funny ones, but somehow the magic was not working so well. As other reviewers have noted, this is a landlocked story with only a few references to boats and sailing. This may explain the lack of impact. Also, I have to remind people of William Blake's immortal words: "A robin redbreast in a cage puts all Heaven in a rage," and the fact that pigeons fly back to their prisons 'voluntarily' does not take away the horror I feel when they do so. This is one of the longer volumes in Ransome's series, but it still felt that it was spreading itself a bit thin, with most of the regular characters being reduced to uncomplicated repeated behaviours rather than three-dimensional development. It's ironic that this particular book was awarded the Carnegie Medal. I'm hoping next summer's volume will see a return to form.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dave Appleby

    For my money this is the second best of the twelve books in the Swallows and Amazons series. The setting is the Lake in the north again but there is a drought and rather than sailing they are prospecting for gold on the fells. There is a full cast of Swallows (John, Susan, Titty and Roger), Amazons (Nancy and Peggy) and Ds (Dick and Dorothea). This book, which won the inaugural Carnegie Medal in 1936, has carrier homing pigeons, water divining, charcoal making, gold mining and panning, and the e For my money this is the second best of the twelve books in the Swallows and Amazons series. The setting is the Lake in the north again but there is a drought and rather than sailing they are prospecting for gold on the fells. There is a full cast of Swallows (John, Susan, Titty and Roger), Amazons (Nancy and Peggy) and Ds (Dick and Dorothea). This book, which won the inaugural Carnegie Medal in 1936, has carrier homing pigeons, water divining, charcoal making, gold mining and panning, and the ever-present threat of a single spark setting the entire fell alight. It is excitement from start to end. Each of the large cast of characters is well-drawn and most of them have pivotal parts to play in the plot. One of the great things about the S&A books is they are stories in which the heroes are exposed to potentially life-threatening situations in enormously realistic settings. This is a book in which the excitement never flags.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ariel

    I enjoyed this one somewhat less than the others. Maybe because there was almost no sailing (though that was also true of Winter Holiday, which I loved). This time the Swallows, the Amazons and the Ds were looking for gold in an old mine and as usual, they were pitted against an adult adversary. That part has started to seem a little formulaic though I think it's part of the child fantasy of the books: "We'll be independent and capable and camp alone and we'll win against adults!" They were comm I enjoyed this one somewhat less than the others. Maybe because there was almost no sailing (though that was also true of Winter Holiday, which I loved). This time the Swallows, the Amazons and the Ds were looking for gold in an old mine and as usual, they were pitted against an adult adversary. That part has started to seem a little formulaic though I think it's part of the child fantasy of the books: "We'll be independent and capable and camp alone and we'll win against adults!" They were communicating with the Amazons' mother by carrier pigeon. (Definitely pre-cell phones!)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Peter Parslow

    I enjoyed this one too, even thought it has hardly any boats :). I did find it a little slow at the start, but - once again - stayed up late to read the last few chapters. Again, I find that reading it as a 50-something is great, and probably a different experience from how I read it decades ago. It does make more sense to read it before The Picts & The Martyrs, but somehow we had lost our copy.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

    I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure with the Swallows, Amazon's and Ds. Prospecting for gold, finding water and dealing with a too hot summer (climate change already), were told with Ransome's usual wit and respect for young people. There was no sailing as well, and therefore the story was able to flow a little quicker without getting bogged into detail of sails and decks. And, the 'natives' played a much smaller role. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable romp through a sunny summer. I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure with the Swallows, Amazon's and Ds. Prospecting for gold, finding water and dealing with a too hot summer (climate change already), were told with Ransome's usual wit and respect for young people. There was no sailing as well, and therefore the story was able to flow a little quicker without getting bogged into detail of sails and decks. And, the 'natives' played a much smaller role. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable romp through a sunny summer.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kate H

    Growing up the Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome was one of my favorite series. When I decided to re-read it as an adult I was worried that it would not stand the test of time. I was delighted to find that in general found it just as enjoyable now as I did as a child. The characters, writing style and adventures are great and I truly enjoyed the series.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Doug

    This is the sixth book in the series and the story seemed a little drawn out to start with. My oh my, what a twist at the end! Amazing gifted story teller for sure! I was a little disappointed by the lack of sailing and hoping the next book gets us back to camping and sailing to the Island! Fun read, even for us adults!

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