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The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss
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The Swiss Family Robinson (original 1812; edition 1972)

by Johann Wyss

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4,351511,134 (3.56)127
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Title:The Swiss Family Robinson
Authors:Johann Wyss
Info:Dell Publishing Co., Inc./A Laurel Edition (1972), paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:1820s, children's, fiction

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The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss (1812)

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» See also 127 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
This 1812 novel was made into a 1960 movie that I remember as being pretty wholesomely Disneyfied. To my amazement, the actual book is equally unrealistically wholesome. The family, consisting of a Swiss mother, father, and four boys, are marooned on an uncharted island following a shipwreck in which they are abandoned by the captain and crew, never to be seen again. They embrace their fate with verve and good cheer, emptying the ship of all useful tools and supplies, and creating a mainly comfortable and well-fed life by dint of hard work and a cheerful outlook. The island must be dozens of square miles, supporting a variety of plants and animals that co-exist nowhere else on earth. There are kangaroos, lions, tigers, bears, buffalo, boa constrictors, ostriches and monkeys. The family has spent at least a decade on the island by the conclusion, never despairing of their fate or their isolation. The conclusion itself, after a decade of isolation in which they are only rarely threatened by the island predators, is in equal measure satisfying and unbelievable. ( )
  burnit99 | Mar 22, 2015 |
A family finds themselves shipwrecked on an island of plenty. They depend on their own hard work and wits to survive. Father is the all knowing leader, the mother a patient hardworking partner, and the four boys each of their quirks. I probably would have enjoyed it more when I was 12 and didn't cringe at some of the archaic language and ideas. Hard to see using it in class, except to hand to a strong reader for a possible challenge book. ( )
  herethere | Mar 17, 2015 |
Moralizing tone and all, this was still probably my favorite book growing up. I literally wore a copy out by reading it too much. And now I'm reading it to my daughters (admittedly with some commentary to explain some...incongruous elements, i.e. penguins and flamingos living on an island with water buffalo and at least one anaconda). ( )
  bigpapageek | Feb 28, 2015 |
I must have watched the 1960 Disney movie of this book dozens of times when I was growing up. Obviously that colored my reading and when I came across some major differences between the book and movie I was a little surprised. They left out one of the sons, there is no showdown with pirates, and the character of Roberta was completely created for the film. Regardless, The book is a lot of fun, but it’s a very different story from the one I was expecting.

The Robinson family is shipwrecked on their way to Australia. They survive and begin to build a life for themselves on the island that they christen “New Switzerland”. Over the course of a few years the family builds a home and learns how to make do in their new world. In addition to the parents, there are four boys: Sons: Fritz, Ernest, Jack, and Franz.

The family’s father teaches survival lessons, like hunting and gathering, but he also teaches his children how to live well. He has a ridiculously diverse knowledge of plants and animals, which at times seemed a bit unlikely. I love that even though they are stranded on a desert island, they work so hard to continue to learn. They are all practicing different languages, studying new sciences, exploring, getting exercise. Their priorities didn’t change. Their father still has the whole family work together and treat each other with civility and respect. He instructs them in everything and they support and encourage one another.

I kept wondering what would happen to a family today if they were stranded and couldn’t use their cell phones. Would they even know how to open a coconut? I kept thinking of Lost, the modern day equivalent of this adventure in some ways. I think a lot of people wouldn’t know how to survive for more than a few days.
There’s one terrifying scene that will stay with me for a long time, it includes a donkey and boa constrictor and that’s all I’ll say. A few of the other scenes where animals are killed aren’t pleasant to read, but they certainly aren’t gratuitous. Each one takes place because they need to survive, not for sport.

BOTTOM LINE: I think this one would be perfect to read aloud to boys. It’s all adventure and learning how to hunt and survive, but the moral lessons about treating animals fairly and hard work give it an added weight. ( )
  bookworm12 | Jan 19, 2015 |
3.5 stars

This is the story of the family (mom, dad, and four boys) who were shipwrecked on a deserted island and how they managed to survive.

It was entertaining, but not believable. The father knew everything about everything, and pretty much everything went right. Every animal they came across they were able to kill or capture for some kind of use – food, eggs, pets, or something else. Not only that, there was quite an international variety of plants and animals: hyena, ostrich, kangaroo, lion, penguin, walrus, boa, pineapple and much more... Overall, I thought it was still enjoyable, but one has to be able to suspend reality. I did (mostly) like the ending. ( )
  LibraryCin | Aug 3, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (215 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wyss, Johann Davidprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wyss, Johann Rudolfmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Becker, May LambertonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davidson, FrederickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dietz, NormanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edwards, JeanneIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gentleman, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Janeway, ElizabethAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kingston, William H.G.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kredel, FritzIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, J. HillisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peake, MervynIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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For many days we had been tempest-tossed.
The tempest had lasted six long and terrible days.
The storm had lasted for six days - and even then, far from subsiding, it seemed to gather even greater fury. (Audrey Butler version)
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Actually edited and completed by Johann Rudolf Wyss. His father, Johann David Wyss, wrote the story.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451529618, Mass Market Paperback)

The 200th Anniversary Edition of The Swiss Family Robinson

Swept off course by a raging storm, a Swiss pastor, his wife, and their four young sons are shipwrecked on an uncharted tropical island. Thus begins the classic story of survival and adventure that has fired the imaginations of readers since it first appeared in 1812. With optimism and boundless enthusiasm, the Robinson family undertakes the extraordinary task of constructing a home for themselves and exploring the primitive island filled with strange and beautiful creatures and exotic fruits and plants. Rich in action and suspense, this exhilarating novel takes us to a faraway place of danger and beauty, where the courageous Robinson family embarks on a thrilling new life of adventure and discovery.

 

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:24 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Relates the fortunes of a shipwrecked family as they adapt to life on an island with abundant animal and plant life.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 19 descriptions

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11 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0143104993, 0141325305

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