Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series has stood the test of time. Ransome is not only a great storyteller, writing from first-hand experience, but each story celebrates eternally valuable qualities of practical knowledge, independence, and initiative. The twelve books are for children or grownups—anyone captivated by a world of sailing, adventure, and imagination.
Here is the twelfth, and last Swallows and Amazons book published in Arthur Ransome’s lifetime. People familiar with the earlier titles will recognize the pattern: children set out on an adventure (this one off the coast of Scotland) with a minimum of parental advice and interference. Here, the story centers on a desperate race to thwart the efforts of pernicious egg collectors threatening the survival of a pair of rare birds not previously known to nest in British waters (actually, the bird is the handsome North American “Great Northern Diver,” more commonly called a loon).