We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea (Godine Storytellers)
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For anyone who loves sailing and adventure, Arthur Ransome's classic Swallows and Amazons series stands alone. Originally published in the UK over a half century ago, these books are still eagerly read by children, despite their length and their decidedly British protagonists. We attribute their success to two facts: first, Ransome is a great storyteller and, second, he clearly writes from first-hand experience. Independence and initiative are qualities any child can understand and every volume in this collection celebrates these virtues.
In this seventh adventure (following Pigeon Post, winner of the Carnegie Medal), the Walker family has come to Harwich to wait for Commander Walker's return. As usual, the children can't stay away from boats, and this time they meet young Jim Brading, skipper of the well-found sloop Goblin. But fun turns to high drama when the anchor drags, and the four young sailors find themselves drifting out to sea sweeping across to Holland in the midst of a full gale! As in all of Ransome's books, the emphasis is on self-reliance, courage, and resourcefulness. We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea is a story to warm any mariner's heart. Full of nautical lore and adventure, it will appeal to young armchair sailors and seasoned sailors alike.
side, was a sea wall covered with long grass and green saltings and shining mud uncovered by the tide. Cormorants were on the edge of the mud, like black sentinels. A grey heron was wading. A flock of gulls swung up into the air and round to settle again in almost the same place. Now that they were clear of the trees, they had a rather better wind, and the Goblin heeled over, just a little, enough to make Titty take hold of the coaming that made a sort of wall round the edge of the cockpit,
chug, that quickened, chug, chug, cough, chug, and steadied again. Jim, followed by Roger, shot up from below. “Good old Billy,” he said. “Just in time to keep our promises.” He leaned out over the transom, to see that the water was coming out of the exhaust as it should, hauled in the Imp’s painter, for fear it should get wound up by the propeller, and turned to Roger. “Now then, engineer. Put her ahead. Shove that lever right forward.” “Look out for your leg, Titty,” said Roger, and as Titty
stirred them one by one and added a little more hot water. “Can’t we get up now?” came Roger’s voice. “All right. Come on, Titty. You’ll both have to sit on Roger’s bunk. Here you are, John.” John reached down for his mug, and put it carefully on the seat, close against the coaming so that it should not slide about. Lovely it was, just to feel the warmth of the mug with a cold hand. Susan handed up his slice of bread and butter with a hunk of tongue. Dawn was certainly coming. He could quite
telegram.” “Perhaps they could send a wireless from the lightship,” said Susan. “But what if we miss it?” said John. “It’ll be much safer to go on.” “If they knew we were all right it wouldn’t matter so much,” said Susan. “But are you sure we’re near land?” “Absolutely certain,” said John. “You saw that light yourself. We’ve only got to keep on as we’re going. It’s perfectly clear. No fog. We’ll go on and get into a harbour and send a telegram at once.” “And then Jim Brading could come to
he must have got. Hurt the motor-bus a bit, I should think. Anyhow, he’s made up his mind to stay aboard, and I don’t see why not, if some of you people come and cook his meals for him.” “Of course we will,” said Susan. “Susan’s got her first-aid box at Miss Powell’s,” said Titty. “We’ll make the Goblin into a hospital ship.” “He won’t mind that,” said Daddy, “but he gets all of a stew when he thinks of that place at Felixstowe and starts worrying about two days he says he’s lost. He’ll be