Tuesday 6 December 2011

Adventure Classics for Boys; Robinson Crusoe, Treasure Island, Kidnapped!

Adventure Classics for Boys; Robinson Crusoe, Treasure Island, Kidnapped!  (Egmont)
HB RRP $19.95
ISBN 978-140525465-6
Reviewed by Lillian Rodrigues-Pang

This book offers three classic adventure stories. It is all boy in presentation with a blue mock cloth cover, a shipwreck image on the front and gold gilding around the edges. It is an attractive hard cover book. The original images are used throughout which are a delight.

A few months ago my son’s teacher suggested he start reading the classics. I gave him Treasure Island after finding it in a second hand bookstore. It began well enough although the language was a major barrier - he came to me so often with English phrases that are out of date and that I had no idea what they meant. Some we looked up, most were too difficult even to guess at and in the end we had to give up on the story. Thankfully this abridged version takes some of the harder classical English out while retaining the feel of the story. The stories are accessible in this format and I am glad as I felt a huge loss at not being able to get through the original.

The first story is Robinson Crusoe. The concept of a shipwreck and living completely alone on an island is one many good tales have come from. If you can put aside the fact that native peoples are portrayed as cannibals and inferior it is a grand adventure tale of survival and determination.

The second story is Treasure Island. I really enjoyed this story. I like the fact that the protagonist is a boy who makes bold decisions. He is wonderfully capable and adventurous and a great judge of character. He fights against the odds and in the end gets a share in the treasure.

The third and final story is Kidnapped. It is an intriguing story that shifts and changes but contains a strong friendship at its core. The story is quick moving and resolves well.

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