For anyone who loves sailing and adventure, Arthur Ransome's classic Swallows and Amazons series stands alone. Originally published over a half-century ago, the 12 books are still eagerly read by children and adults alike - by all those captivated by the world of adventure and imagination. Such longevity is not only due to Ransome’s unparalleled gift of storytelling, but also his championing of qualities such as independence and initiative; virtues that appeal to every generation, whether young or old.
In Pigeon Post, the crew's on holiday and they turn their energies to mining for gold, aided by pigeon messengers Homer, Sophocles, and Sappho. The adventurers comb the nearby hills for a fabled lost claim, while being shadowed by a mysterious figure they dub "squashy hat". Undeterred by drought, sudden brushfires, and the continuing presence of Squashy Hat, the young prospectors persevere in their quest - with surprising results.
Arthur Ransome was a prolific writer of children's books. Born in Leeds in 1884, it was his father, a nature-loving history professor, who inspired his love of the outdoors and nurtured a passion for fishing. As a child he enjoyed active, outdoor holidays: sailing, camping and exploring the countryside. He used many of these holiday settings for his children's stories, notably the much-loved Swallows and Amazons, a book that sits comfortably in the category of "timeless classic". In 1936 he won the first ever Carnegie Medal for the sixth book in the Swallows & Amazons series, Pigeon Post.