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Treasure Island Paperback – May 1 1982
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Gr. 5-9. This is one of the best in the picture-book-size Scribner Storybook Classic series. True to the spirit of Stevenson's timeless novel, Timothy Meis' abridged retelling captures the bloody action of mutiny on the high seas and the cutthroat quest for hidden treasure. The story is told through the eyes of brave cabin boy Jim, who fights off the murderous pirates and bonds with their one-legged leader, Long John Silver. Wyeth's thrilling, handsomely reproduced paintings, originally done in 1911, will attract a variety of readers, including some older high-schoolers. In dark shades of brown and red, the pictures focus on the grim, exciting struggle on board the ship and on the island. At the same time, there's a burning golden glow in the background of almost every scene, keeping readers in mind of the treasure that drives the wild action. The most unforgettable painting--and one of Wyeth's most famous--is the melancholy scene of Jim leaving home as his mother weeps in the background. It's the elemental adventure. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Throughout his life, Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson was tormented by poor health. Yet despite frequent physical collapses–mainly due to constant respiratory illness–he was an indefatigable writer of novels, poems, essays, letters, travel books, and children’s books. He was born on November 13, 1850, in Edinburgh, of a prosperous family of lighthouse engineers. Though he was expected to enter the family profession, he studied instead for the Scottish bar. By the time he was called to the bar, however, he had already begun writing seriously, and he never actually practiced law. In 1880, against his family’s wishes, he married an American divorcée, Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne, who was ten years his senior; but the family was soon reconciled to the match, and the marriage proved a happy one.
All his life Stevenson traveled–often in a desperate quest for health. He and Fanny, having married in California and spent their honeymoon by an abandoned silver mine, traveled back to Scotland, then to Switzerland, to the South of France, to the American Adirondacks, and finally to the south of France, to the South Seas. As a novelist he was intrigued with the genius of place: Treasure Island (1883) began as a map to amuse a boy. Indeed, all his works reveal a profound sense of landscape and atmosphere: Kidnapped (1886); The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886); The Master of Ballantrae (1889).
In 1889 Stevenson’s deteriorating health exiled him to the tropics, and he settled in Samoa, where he was given patriarchal status by the natives. His health improved, yet he remained homesick for Scotland, and it was to the “cold old huddle of grey hills” of the Lowlands that he returned in his last, unfinished masterpiece, Weir of Hermiston (1896).
Stevenson dies suddenly on December 3, 1894, not of the long-feared tuberculosis, but of a cerebral hemorrhage. The kindly author of Jekyll and Hyde went down to the cellar to fetch a bottle of his favorite burgundy, uncorked it in the kitchen, abruptly cried out to his wife, “What’s the matter with me, what is this strangeness, has my face changed?”–and fell to the floor. The brilliant storyteller and master of transformations had been struck down at forty-four, at the height of his creative powers.
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Top Customer Reviews
The point about classics such as Treasure Island is that you cannot doubt the relevance of such a book, since it is still popular more than 120 years after it was first published (1883). Hundreds of books following Treasure Island have used the image of the pirate Long John Silver and made it a universal type. Ask anyone to picture a pirate and in nine out of ten cases you will get something closely resembling Long John.
The strongest quality of Treasure Island is that it is still surprisingly fresh. It has a pace that can stand comparison with any contemporary novel. Stevenson did not add a lot of moralising to the story, which is quite remarkable for a coming of age story dated from that period. The character of Long John suffers clearly from a certain machiavellian duality, a topic that will return more prominently in Stevenson's later work: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Most of the story is narrated by Jim Hawkins, the son of the owners of an inn, who becomes involved in a mystery involving sailors and treasure, though there are a few chapters narrated by Doctor Livesey, whom Jim looks to as a trusted magistrate. The adventure takes place at some point in the 18th century, though one cannot determine the exact time frame and regardless it isn't important for the story.
This is a great work for younger readers as it is full of adventure and interesting characters, and a young hero in Jim Hawkins. The best known of the characters, though, is Long John Silver. Hired as a cook for the expedition, it is no surprise that Silver turns out to be much more. Silver has much more complexity and depth than any other character in the story, and that is perhaps the main thing that makes the story as engaging as it is. There is no shortage of film adaptations and TV shows based on this work, and though its story is clearly of a time, the enjoyment of reading it is timeless.
Most recent customer reviews
The sticker on the back when removing left a big greese stain and took of some of empossing print. It was a gift so not all that happy with it.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Fast shipping and so far an excellent read! Would recommend!Published 14 months ago by Logan Aucoin
Tough read since the English is from 1886 but a really cool story. Makes you want to go out and find ye burried treasure!Published on July 4 2014 by Evan Polson
Using this version of the original text as a read aloud for my grade 3 class. The Classic Starts version is making this story accessible to my students without taking away from... Read morePublished on May 3 2014 by Brodie
Actual Book was too small. Can't read the print. The downside of ordering anything on-line.Had to repack and send to Mississauga. More trouble than its worth. just go to the mall.Published on Aug. 5 2013 by tony morrell