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Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Thursday, 6 May 2021

"Winter Holiday" by Arthur Ransome

 The fourth 'Swallows and Amazons' adventure and the first to include the Ds. Back on the lake, scientifically-minded Dick and storyteller Dorothea join John, Susan, Titty, Roger, Nancy and Peggy. They are city children and know nothing about sailing, so it helps that the dinghies have been laid up for the winter and that the lake is freezing: Dick and Dorothea are great skaters. The kids build an igloo and practice semaphore and Morse; an expedition to the end of the lake ('the North Pole') is planned. Then Nancy gets the mumps but the adventures continue with Captain Flint's houseboat becoming Nansen's Fram. And, at the end, a very real adventure.

Some memorable moments:

  • "You ought to hang out a notice for when you're not there." (Ch 2)
  • "You know what it's like. Dark at teatime and sleeping indoors: nothing ever happens in the winter holidays." (Ch 3)
  • "People oughtn't to be allowed to be brought up in towns." (Ch 27)
  • "He thought of Dick, who was full of good ideas but was nearly always thinking of the wrong one." (Ch 27)

A classic of children's literature. May 2021;333 pages

This review was written by

the author of Motherdarling 

and The Kids of God

The Swallows and Amazon series contained twelve books:

  • Swallows and Amazons: Children camping on an island in a lake have sailing based adventures
  • Swallowdale: More sailing adventures are threatened when the Swallow sinks
  • Peter Duck: The Swallows and Amazons and Captain Flint sail on a big yacht into the Caribbean in search of pirate treasure; pirates pursue
  • Winter Holiday: the lake freezes allowing a sledge-based expedition to the 'north pole'; the 'D's are introduced
  • Coot Club: The Ds join the Death and Glory kids in the Norfolk Broads but the excitement is just as great when birds have to be protected from rowdies.
  • We Didn't Mean to go to Sea: The Swallows accidentally find themselves at sea in a yacht they scarcely know: for my money this is the most dramatic and exciting book of the series.
  • Secret Water: The Swallows are joined by the Amazons in an expedition to map some tidal mud-flats
  • The Big Six: The Death and Glory kids have to be cleared of accusations of crime; the Ds help.
  • Missee Lee: The Swallows and Amazons and Captain Flint are shipwrecked near China and captured by a lady Chinese pirate with a taste for Latin.
  • Pigeon Post: The Swallows and Amazons and Ds search for gold in the hills above the Lake; one of my favourites
  • The Picts and the Martyrs: The Ds have to hide in the hills when the Great Aunt comes to stay with the Amazons
  • Great Northern: The Swallows and Amazons and Ds and Captain Flint are protecting birds in the far north of Scotland.
Other books by this author:

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