Sunday, April 5, 2009

37. Swiss Family Robinson

By Johann Wyse
Rated 5 Stars
From:  Downloaded from internet - free classic book site
Re-read from many, many years ago

I gave this book a 5 star rating for being a great example of a fantasy book, written 200 years ago that has hung in there all these years.  Yes I had some problems with it since the story and writing style was written for a different time and place than today.  But I think it would still be a great story to read to your kids as a fantasy bed time story. 

This book was originally written in 1812 and tells of the adventures of a European family set off for the new world of New Guinea. Shipwrecked by a raging storm and abandoned by the crew they struggle to make it through alive. Tossed into a reef near a deserted tropical island,  the family soon turns their island prison into a veritable paradise. Their multilevel tree house was built in record time and is complete with running water As a tale of hardship and pioneer spirit, the tale is pure fantasy, The island is impossibly populated by ostriches, zebras, lions, kangaroos.  The moral lessons that the Father in constantly preaching and the inventions he and the family created had me really struggling to keep my disbelief suspended. For example, the father knew every species they came across. I don't believe that anyone in 1800, no matter how well-read he was, would react to every species (both plant and animal) with a spurt of perfect knowledge of that species.  While I managed to deal with that by only slightly rolling my eyes the thing that really set my teeth on edge was that when the boys encountered a strange an interesting species of bird or animal they shot it so they could get a better look at it.  But hey, didn't Audubon do the same thing?
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