Secret Water (Vintage Childrens Classics) by Arthur Ransome (2014-06-05)

Paperback, no date



Call number

PB Ran

Call number

PB Ran

Local notes

PB Ran





Vintage Children's Classics (no date)


Follows the adventures of the five Walker children after their parents leave them on a "desert island" with provisions for a long stay and a blank map to fill in.

Original publication date


User reviews

LibraryThing member thorold
The sequel to We didn't mean to go to sea, this is set in the complex of islands and muddy tidal creeks behind Walton-on-the-Naze, where the Swallows are dumped by their parents on an island with dinghies, tents, surveying instruments and a blank map to fill in. Maybe a fortnight spent up to the
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knees in mud clutching survey poles (or up to the elbows in Indian ink clutching drawing instruments) sounds more like a geography field trip than a holiday, but they seem to enjoy it, and even manage to have a little friendly war with another group of children who consider the islands as their place. Ransome was obviously thinking about The riddle of the sands when he wrote this book, although he doesn't manage to introduce an invasion scare.

Probably not the best starting point if you're new to Arthur Ransome, but the map-making theme does work surprisingly well, and any child that's already a Swallows and Amazons fan will certainly enjoy this.
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LibraryThing member antiquary
This is one of the latest Swallows and Amazons books in terms of the overall chronology of the series. It immediately follows We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea, which I rather dislike (too much seasickness), By this time the Swallows are older, John and Susan are old enough to be left in charge of the
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crew on a tidal island off the English coast. Roger the ship's boy is now rated an able seaman, and the youngest child, Bridget, hitherto too young to go along on the adventures, is included for the first time. They are exploring a set of tidal islands and are joined by the Amazons while encountering a local group of children, the Eels, who see themselves as a primitive tribe, conveniently serving as opponents for the Swallows" explorers." I suppose a contemporary critic might see the game as too imperialist, but in the context of the time it is harmless. One bit I remember is when Bridget is being a "sacrifice" and the others are afraid she is upset and stop the game, but she actually wants to go on playing.
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LibraryThing member Cathery
I found my copy of this in a used book or junk store, already battered and sans jacket (if it ever had one), and from that moment, its days of lingering alone and forgotten in a bin were over. One of my favorites in the series.


(118 ratings; 4.1)
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