The Islanders by Roland Pertwee ; Illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard
Indianapolis : The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1956. Hardcover. 267 pages ; illustrated ; 22 cm. $3.00 dust jacket with dampstain to verso. Minor waterstain to front and rear end papers. Foxing to side page edges. Musty odor within pages. Pages are unmarked. Binding sound.
"Now, if I were to lend you a mile of river and five hundred acres of woodland and hillside lor the summer holiday, could you find a couple of boys to share it with you?"
Patrick Faraday's eyes goggled at "Old B.," who was a very fat, very rich, very eccentric friend of his father's. "A couple? I could find sixty!" (That was the number of boys in Pat's school.)
"Two I said, and two's the limit. But before you take the bait you'd better hear what you're in for. To begin with, there'll be no roof over your heads, except of your own building, and no soft beds. There'll be no meals either, for it'll be up to you to catch 'em and cook 'em as best you can. If you get into trouble you must wriggle out of it, and not come whining to me for help. That's one side of the picture — here's the other. The Swiss Family Robinson didn't start from scratch, and I won't expect you to. They brought ashore some very useful stuff from the wreck, and I'll guarantee that you'll find equally useful stuff has been washed ashore, if you're smart enough to spot it.
"While the holiday lasts, the land and all that's on it and the water and all that 's in it will be your property. There are certain rules you'll have to abide by-game and fishing laws. Apart from those you'll be your own masters."
And so begins this story of three boys' unforgettable summer in Devon. On a little island in a salmon river they set up their headquarters, fishing and shooting to provide themselves with food, and be-coming interestingly involved with gypsies, farmers, hunting landowners, many friends and one enemy.
Old B. had told Pat that boys, by and large, were noisy, destructive and a beastly nuisance, but had three things he liked: nerve, energy and a love of adventure. Pat and his chosen companions, Nick and Toby, have plenty of each. Their initiative, common sense and unquenchable high spirits bring them triumphantly through this summer's trials and exhilarations.
Their book is full of country air. sights and sounds, ol the satisfaction that comes from creating with one's own hands, of the excitement of technical discoveries with rod and gun. The Islanders is the first story Roland Pertwee, a distinguished English playwright, wrote for boys, and it has already won for itself a permanent place among favorite "country books" in England.
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