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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 30 November 2011
Pigeon Post is probably the best episode in Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series. It contains all the usual hardships of an adventure as the eight children spend their summer holidays hunting for gold in the lake district.

The plot is amazingly detailed and full of the slightly educational aspects that Ransome so brilliantly slips in. Twists and turns come at a good rate and his writing so effortlessly captures the reader's imagination. He even manages to include in-jokes using Dot, the writer amongst the group.

The characters are treated well, and the focus is shifted down onto the younger four now that John, Susan and the Amazons have aged two years since the first book, in order to keep the narrative on a level with the planned audience. All four are treated well and have very different personalities that leap off the page.

For all this, it is truly deserving of five stars and all the other accolades it has received. One of the best children's novels I've ever had the pleasure to read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 22 August 2010
Ransome is at his best in this wonderfully rich, packed novel which shows up sharply how thin contemporary children's literature tends to be. The characters are three dimensional and as believable today as when they were created. Captain Nancy is determined to find gold in the Lake District hills behind her home in order to keep her errant Uncle Jim near-at-hand. The resultant story is not only fascinating in its detail of such diverse topics as dowsing and charcoal making but culminates in a tense fight against a hill fire. Wonderful stuff.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on 22 November 2001
It's a long hot summer holiday, and the Swallows, Amazons and Ds decide to spend it in the hills. They are on a hunt for gold and they train pigeons to carry messages to Mrs Blackett so she can make sure that they are all right. They know that a friend called Timothy is coming to stay, but who or what is he? Things turn out very differently to how the children expect. It is a very good book by Arthur Ransome.
by Jessie Acton, aged 9.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 8 October 2010
It's interesting to delve back in time to see what middle class kids got up to in the '30's.I know my parents weren't prospesting for gold or sailing their dinghy in the lake district on their summer hols, but this is shear fantasy at it's best.
It doesn't matter about your social awareness it's about immersing yourself in the adventure. This book is similar to the other Swallows & Amazons novels except boats don't really feature.
Ransome's technical terminology and explanations are still streets ahead of today's childrens writers. His discriptive talents are at times so vivid you can see the landscapes and childrens movements and expressions quite clearly in your minds eye.
As a 53 year old child this book is even more enjoyable than the Harry Potter series of today. If I was an average 10 year old, I don't know if I could relate as easily. It would be good to hear from more parents and teachers who have introduced Ransome,s novels to their charges.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 17 December 2000
In this sixth 'S & A' adventure, summer has come once more, and the Swallows are back in the Lake District, together with the two D's, on another holiday with their boating friends, the Amazon pirates. This time, the children desert the lake and take instead to the High Topps, prospecting for gold.
While adult readers will be unable to do other than admire the children's enthusiasm (sufficiently infectious to draw most young readers into it wholesale), they will probably have a feeling of impending disaster from quite early on, in this book. The Amazons' impetuous natures, combined with the others' general inexperience and limited knowledge of mining and its chemistry, lead them all (except, perhaps, the more sensible Susan!) into more scrapes, as well as rather more dangerous situations, than usual.
This leads to a different (but no less absorbing) desire to keep reading this tale than that likely to affect the more naïve younger reader. Both young and old are, nevertheless, likely to spend much of the time on tenterhooks during this book, as the young prospectors explore old mine workings, try their hand at charcoal burning and build and operate a blast furnace in their camp, out on the tinder-dry fells! For once, one can only feel something of a sense of relief that times have changed since 1936, when this was written! One can't help feeling - and being grateful for the fact - that modern children would not be terribly interested in repeating some of the activities undertaken here.
In summary, then, "Pigeon Post" is every bit as exciting (and at times far more nerve-wracking) and educational as the other books in this series: another winner from Arthur Ransome.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2013
As an Arthur Ransom fan in my youth I still enjoy his slightly larger than life stories This has plenty of adventure, commonsense and a believable account of the relations between adults and adventurous and usually sensible children
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 March 2013
We are still reading this book at the moment, but it's another great tale of adventure for the Swallows, Amazons and D's. Our 8-year-old daughter loves these stories.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 12 April 1999
I recommend reading Swallows and Amazons, the first book in the series, first.
I liked Pigeon Post, because it was a different style of book than Swallows and Amazons. Swallows and Amazons took place on the lake and involved sailing. In Swallows and Amazons, the children pretended that everything was something else. Pigeon Post takes place entirely on land. In Pigeon Post, they don't pretend as much. In Pigeon Post, the characters seem more serious and older.
In this book, the children -- the Swallows, Amazons, and Ds -- go prospecting for gold. Squashy Hat, a mysterious character, is looking for it, too. Using pigeons to communicate with home, they go to the mountains behind Beckfoot -- the Amazons' house.
This book is really exciting. I couldn't put it down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 November 2013
I unfortunately missed out as a child, and was not aware of the 'Swallows & Amazon' books.
Now (in my 70's) I'm realising what a wealth of excellent reading I missed.
I am working my way through all 12 of Arthur Ransoms' books and finding that the characters are becoming well loved friends, and am having a whale of a time reading about them.
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on 21 September 2015
A childhood classic that I read again recently and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. As an adult, I can see how Nancy creates her own games for them all. The mining is a game, and made more fun by having a possible claim-jumper. But Nancy is also mature enough to know where the game ends - they rapidly work alongside the 'enemy' when it is important to do so.

Definitely a keeper and I'll be going back to re-read more books in the series.

It's strange now, to see how much the world has changed. Not only the lack of mobile phones, but even land lines were rare when this book was written. Cars were few on the road, camping was incredibly basic with no gas stoves, etc.

A slower paced world, and maybe the better for it.
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