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The Coral Island (Children's Classics) Paperback – 5 Nov 1995


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions; New edition edition (5 Nov. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185326170X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853261701
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.8 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 151,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

If Lord of the Flies is one of [your child's] A-level texts, they may just be interested to know that this 1857 Boys' Own adventure story about pirates, cannibals and how to survive on a Pacific island with a broken telescope and a rusty penknife was what inspired William Golding's novel. He even pinched Ballantyne's names, Ralph and Jack, for his leading characters - though there the resemblance ends. Here the boys are shining stiff-upper-lip products of empire who risk all to help each other and their friend Peterkin, who may or may not be the piggy in the middle. He sounds as if he went to a better school. This is Peterkin telling his chums what he thinks of being shipwrecked on a desert island: 'I have made up my mind that it's capital, first-rate, the best thing that ever happened to us. We've got an island all to ourselves. We'll take possession in the name of the King, then we'll build a charming villa and plant a lovely garden round it, stuck all full of the most splendiferous tropical flowers, and we'll farm the land ... and be merry.' That's how small boys wearing round black straw hats, worsted socks and pocket handkerchiefs with 16 portraits of Lord Nelson printed on them and a union flag in the middle used to talk in the mid 19th century. --Sue Arnold, The Guardian --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

R. M. Ballantyne (24 April 1825 – 8 February 1894) was a Scottish juvenile fiction writer. Born Robert Michael Ballantyne in Edinburgh, he was part of a famous family of printers and publishers. At the age of 16 he went to Canada and was six years in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company. He returned to Scotland in 1847, and published his first book the following year, Hudson's Bay: or, Life in the Wilds of North America. For some time he was employed by Messrs Constable, the publishers, but in 1856 he gave up business for the profession of literature, and began the series of adventure stories for the young with which his name is popularly associated. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By J. F. Sayers on 23 Mar. 2004
Format: Paperback
Although this is a great book, it is heavily abridged and censored from the original version. This is probably a good thing if you are buying the book for a child to read, as all of the shockingly racist terms have been removed, but is not helpful if you are studying the text! I bought the book for my English Lit degree and found nothing to indicate that it was abridged or censored until the lecture when it became apparent that whole sections of the book were missing. So, make sure you buy the appropriate edition and enjoy!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Eating People Is Wrong on 19 July 2011
Format: Paperback
This is one of my favourite books. It's amazing. It starts off when the main hero, Ralph, goes to sea with his friends Peterkin and Jack. They get shipwrecked and find themselves stranded on a coral island.

The next bit of the story is how they survive. I will highlight three of my favourite adventures:

- there was a fight. Some natives come to the island and have a big battle. Peterkin, Jack and Ralph help.
- they find a cave under water
- they get covered in water at Spouting Cliff

They hunt pigs, battle with sharks, find a mysterious house and a cat and see a spooky creature. Then one day pirates come and take Ralph captive. Does Ralph join the pirates? Are they REALLY pirates? Does he see the island again? What will happen to him? Read on to find out!

My mum read this aloud to us. Some of the words are old-fashioned but mum explained them and we thought some of the expressions were really funny.

Rachel aged 9
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Sept. 2000
Format: Paperback
This book I felt initially was too old fashioned for me to read. It appears to be all too happy and cheery. Yet once you begin to read the book you appreciate it for what it is. It is a boyish adventure written at a time when there was faith in the world and it was believed that there was good in all. I now feel that this book is very well written. It shows a side to these boys that now in Lord of the Flies by William Golding and The Beach by Alex Garland seem to feel no longer exists. It shows faith in humans and I feel that it is a book that if taken for what it is is a very enjoyable book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. thomas on 23 April 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a fantastic adventure story for anyone aged 9 up (as long as they're fairly proficient readers). The plot is amazing and it's really well written. The only drawback is that the text is quite small and close together in this version, hence only 4* - if the print was easier to read, it would definitely have 5*. Brilliant.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Fergus Allen on 16 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
The book was delivered promptly and was in good condition and easy to read. Unfotunately it was a somewhat abridged ediion, which was not what I wanted. I cannot recall for sure now, but I don't think the listing in Amazon mentioned that it was abridged. The fact that it rates as a children's book does not mean that abridgement is acceptable. As I remember from my own childhood one of the missing passages has to do with some gruesome actions of the 'cannibals' who land on the island! Whether or not this is 'politically correct' today, it gives a creepy pleasure to most normal children who read the book. I find uninvited censorship of this kind deplorable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kevski on 21 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
Here is a fantastic boy's adventure that is hard to put down. Whilst the earlier parts of the story develop in a way that makes you want to be part of the action, darker elements enter the story at a later stage - without giving away too much!!!

The writing is dated but this does not detract from an overall very satisfying yarn. It is easy to identify with the characters. One of many books I know I will read again. Although a cliche, it is a book for children of all ages.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Dan Pacey on 1 April 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a book to warm your heart and which, once read, will always hold special meaning.
It's a simple enough story which is really aimed at young boys, but it has enough depth of feeling, information and good old fashioned wonder to keep any reader enthralled.
The book does lose some momentum toward the end, but it is definately a world which you are always happy to enter into and never keen to leave - and in many ways, you need never do so.
Simple, wonderful, humourous and observant, and indicative of a place and time in history that may never have existed, except in stories.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dan Pacey on 1 April 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a book to warm your heart and which, once read, will always hold special meaning.
It's a simple enough story which is really aimed at young boys, but it has enough depth of feeling, information and good old fashioned wonder to keep any reader enthralled.
The book does lose some momentum toward the end, but it is definately a world which you are always happy to enter into and never keen to leave - and in many ways, you need never do so.
Simple, wonderful, humourous and observant, and indicative of a place and time in history that may never have existed, except in stories.
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