For those who don't know, Swallows and Amazons is about four siblings - John, Susan, Titty and Roger - who sail about in a little boat called Swallow one summer and go camping on an island in the middle of a lake where they are staying for the summer. On the island they encounter the two woman crew of the Amazon, 'pirates' Nancy (her real name is Ruth, but pirates are Ruth-less. love it) and Peggy Blackett and have all kinds of adventures together.
Can we just talk for a moment about the fact that Enid Blyton's Faraway Tree series has been reissued with half the kids' names changed because apparently children today can't cope with people named 'Dick' and 'Fanny', but Titty is still happily allowed to be called Titty? Weird double standard? I don't get it. Aside from that (and the fact that Ransome continually refers to the poor baby as 'fat Vicky'. She's a baby! She's supposed to be fat!) it stood up really well to rereading.
I was a little bit worried that, having committed myself to reading the entire series of 12 books this summer, I'd get through Swallows and Amazons and really hate it, but no. I still love it. It still made me want to go camping immediately and make campfires and go exploring. The kids didn't annoy me particularly and there was a lot at the end that I had no memory of, possibly because my overriding memory is of the film rather than the book. If you have kids and you want to encourage them to go outside and play and use their imaginations, you should read them this book.
I've already started Swallowdale and am loving it so far. The only bad thing is that it means the ever-elusive Peter Duck is next and I can't get my sister's copy till the middle of May ;-( Anybody want to lend me a copy?