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The Silver Sword Paperback – 3 Apr 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Red Fox; New Ed edition (3 April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099439492
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099439493
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ian Serraillier (September 24, 1912 - November 28, 1994), was a British novelist and poet. Serraillier was best known for his children's books, especially the Silver Sword (Novel) (1956), a wartime adventure story which was adapted for television by the BBC in 1957 and again in 1971.

Born in London, Serraillier was educated at Brighton College, and took his degree at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. He became an English teacher, first at World War II. It was during this period that his first published work appeared, in the form of poetry for both adults and children. In 1946 his first children's novel was published. It was followed by several more adventure stories of treasure and spies. His best known work, The Silver Sword, was published in 1956 and has become a classic, bringing to life the story of four refugee children and their search for their parents in the chaos of Europe immediately after World War II.

As well as children's novels and poetry, Serrailler produced his own retellings of classic tales, in prose and verse, including Beowulf, Chaucer and Greek myth. Together with his wife Anne he founded the New Windmill Series in 1948, published by Heinemann Educational Books, which set out to provide inexpensive editions of good stories. He continued as co-editor of the series until the onset of Alzheimer's disease.



Photography © Andrew Serraillier

Product Description

Review

"Old-fashioned storytelling about courage at its best" (Amanda Craig The Times)

"One of the most exciting books I've read for a long while" (Daily Telegraph)

"This book is touched with greatness" (Junior Bookshelf)

"One of the most remarkable children's books since 1945" (Oxford Companion to Children's Literature)

"A mind-blowing and emotional read" (Sally Bailey Essex Chronicle Series)

Book Description

The classic tale of a journey through war-torn Europe.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By SarniaMan on 27 April 2010
Format: Paperback
I received a copy of this book as a form prize at St Peters School, Weston-super-Mare, in the late 1950s. I wasn't an avid reader and was mildly disappointed to receive a book rather than a fountain pen. As prize-giving was at the end of term I took the book home for the holidays. At what point during the hols I started to read it I can't recall. But I remember being mesmerised from the moment I picked it up. It was the first book I'd ever read that left such a lasting impression. I have re-read the book over the years and still marvel at the wonderful prose style that first hooked me. It is sad, funny, inspiring, gripping and, above all, a triumph of hope over adversity. It inspires me still and is as relevant in 2010 as it was 50+ years ago. Children and adults alike will find this book rivetting.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By D. Elliott TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 10 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
Recently one of my grandchildren (age 10 years) gave me a copy of a book he described as "great" and he recommended I read it - it was `The Silver Sword'. I told him I'd read it an age ago and confirmed I'd also found it great, and I was able to inform him how the book is well known to our family. My father was a teaching colleague of author Ian Serraillier (Wycliffe College, Gloucestershire) and they holidayed together (Cairngorms and Stubai Alps,Austria) before WWII. My father was proud of his friend's literary achievements and he introduced me and my 5 brothers to possibly his best children's story - `The Silver Sword'. I thoroughly enjoyed re-reading, and I was delighted to find the book still in print with an `Afterword' by Jane Serraillier Grossfield - daughter of the author. She presents insights to how her father wrote the book over a period of 5 years, and she explains her father's Quaker beliefs and conscientious objection to war. Her revelations confirmed what I remembered about `The Silver Sword' as a well-structured exciting and moving account written in a clear style (possibly a bit old fashioned today) that immediately grips young readers and opens their eyes to the terrifying realities of war. `The Silver Sword' is a classic that deserved 5-star rating when first published in 1956, and it still deserves 5-star rating as this Red Fox paperback edition.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Sept. 1999
Format: Paperback
I thought the Silver Sword was very exciting to read as a book.What made it particularly good was the fact that the story was based on real life people. The story is about the Balicki family who got separated during the Second World War when the Germans took over Poland and who try to find each other afterwards.The character I most liked was Jan who was a very rough boy. Jan was not a memeber of the Balicki family but it was he who helped them to find each other.Jan loved animals and was very tricky.One of my favourite events was when Edek shot the German soldier in the arm.I found it fairly easy to read and to understand.The children who would enjoy this book are boys and girls aged 9 to 12.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Secret Spi on 20 May 2009
Format: Paperback
"The Silver Sword" was written in the decade following the war and, due to his meticulous research, it took the author five years to write. Of course, in those days, you couldn't simply look at Wikipedia or Google!

The research certainly paid off as the story feels very authentic and immediate. The epic journey of the four children across war-ravaged Europe is told in short, gripping chapters. The characterisation is good, from the children themselves to the various characters they meet on their way. No-one is perfect and there are friends and enemies on both "sides". And even though the theme of the book is quite heavy, there are lighter moments,too, particularly some of the antics of Jan and his animal companions.

Perhaps what I like best about this book is its basic belief in humanity and its ultimate message of hope. Ian Serraillier was a pacifist and his belief in the ultimate good of mankind comes through this book, along with a feel of the senselessness of war. I wanted to read my son a book about the war and its effect on the people of Europe. There are many good books for children about the war from a UK perspective but this is one of the few that is set in Europe and devoid of the usual caricatures and cliches.

An excellent story for children aged 8 or 9 plus.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Hulk on 29 Jun. 2005
Format: Paperback
We would recommend this book to anyone who likes a gripping story, it is suitable for all ages.We really enjoyed this story and thought it was easy to imagine yourself as one of the characters.Along the way, you feel as if you're dealing with the situations that the children experience.
Every time you read it, you'll get something from it. As we know from our teacher.
This story,based on reality, is action packed from start to finish.
The Silver Sword is about determined children,split up from their parents and their adventures during the war as they travel to Switzerland.
The story begins with the dramatic escape of Joseph Balicki from Zakyna prison camp and continues with his quest to be reunited with his family.
Within the book many unpredictable and different characters appear and become either friends or enemies of the children.
Will the brave Balickis be succesful in their mission or will they fail? You'll have to read it to find out!!
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