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Robinson Crusoe Retold for Pleasure Reading…
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Robinson Crusoe Retold for Pleasure Reading

by Edward W. Dolch, Marguerite P. Dolch, Beulah F. Jackson

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Crusoe (the family name transcribed from the German name "Kreutznaer") leaves England, setting sail from the Queen's Dock in Hull on a sea voyage in September 1651, against the wishes of his parents, who want him to stay home and assume a career in law.

After a tumultuous journey that sees his ship wrecked by a vicious storm, his lust for the sea remains so strong that he sets out to sea again. This journey too ends in disaster as the ship is taken over by Salé pirates, and Crusoe becomes the slave of a Moor. He manages to escape with a boat and a boy named Xury; later, Crusoe is befriended by the Captain of a Portuguese ship off the western coast of Africa. The ship is en route to Brazil. There, with the help of the captain, Crusoe becomes owner of a plantation.

Years later, he joins an expedition to bring slaves from Africa, but is shipwrecked in a storm about forty miles out to sea on an island (which he calls the Island of Despair) near the mouth of the Orinoco river on September 30, 1659. His companions all die. Having overcome his despair, he fetches arms, tools, and other supplies from the ship before it breaks apart and sinks. He proceeds to build a fenced-in habitation near a cave which he excavates himself. He keeps a calendar by making marks in a wooden cross built by himself, hunts, grows corn and rice, dries grapes to make raisins for the winter months, learns to make pottery, raises goats, etc., using tools created from stone and wood which he harvests on the island, and adopts a small parrot. He reads the Bible and suddenly becomes religious, thanking God for his fate in which nothing is missing but society.

Years later, he discovers native cannibals who occasionally visit the island to kill and eat prisoners. At first he plans to kill them for committing an abomination, but later realizes that he has no right to do so as the cannibals have not attacked him and do not knowingly commit a crime. He dreams of obtaining one or two servants by freeing some prisoners; and indeed, when a prisoner manages to escape, Crusoe helps him, naming his new companion "Friday" after the day of the week he appeared. Crusoe then teaches him English and converts him to Christianity.

After another party of natives arrives to partake in a cannibal feast, Crusoe and Friday manage to kill most of the natives and save two of the prisoners. One is Friday's father and the other is a Spaniard, who informs Crusoe that there are other Spaniards shipwrecked on the mainland. A plan is devised wherein the Spaniard would return with Friday's father to the mainland and bring back the others, build a ship, and sail to a Spanish port.

Before the Spaniards return, an English ship appears; mutineers have taken control of the ship and intend to maroon their former captain on the island. Crusoe and the ship's captain strike a deal, in which he helps the captain and the loyalist sailors retake the ship from the mutineers, whereupon they intend to leave the worst of the mutineers on the island. Before they leave for England, Crusoe shows the former mutineers how he lived on the island, and states that there will be more men coming. Crusoe leaves the island December 19th, 1686, and arrives back in England June 11th, 1687. He learns that his family believed him dead and there was nothing in his father's will for him. Crusoe then departs for Lisbon to reclaim the profits of his estate in Brazil, which has granted him a large amount of wealth. In conclusion, he takes his wealth over land to England to avoid traveling at sea. Friday comes with him and along the way they endure one last adventure together as they fight off hundreds of famished wolves while crossing the Pyrenees.
  mrsdanaalbasha | Mar 12, 2016 |
I wanted a version of Robinson Crusoe that I could read to my children so they could understand references to the story that appear in another book we will be reading. I thought the original would be too much for the 4 year old. But I wanted something that stayed true to the original, rather than removing all the politcally incorrect references to cannibals, savages, and "Master" as those are some of the things referred to in the other book. (There is a different kids version that does that.)

This abridgement/simplification is exactly what I was looking for. It keeps the politically incorrect parts we need, but uses simplified language and sentence structure and is much shorter. Even my four-year old will be able to follow along. I found the language boring and repetitive, but we'll see how it does when read aloud.

As an aside, I don't understand changing things that accurately reflect the attitude of the time it was written to pretend that people didn't used to think that way. That just leaves people unable to understand history. I find it much more effective to discuss what they used to think and why and then what standards our family should follow and why. Given their ages, this is usually just a sentence or two unless they have further questions. But it does a better job of teaching that people have diverse viewpoints than pretending everyone does and always has agreed with our viewpoints.
  mcegan | Feb 20, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dolch, Edward W.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dolch, Marguerite P.main authorall editionsconfirmed
Jackson, Beulah F.main authorall editionsconfirmed

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During one of his several adventurous voyages in the 1600s, an Englishman becomes the sole survivor of a shipwreck and lives on a deserted island for more than twenty-eight years.

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