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Coot club by Arthur Ransome
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Coot club (original 1934; edition 1969)

by Arthur Ransome (Author)

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471721,964 (4.06)8
Member:TheoClarke
Title:Coot club
Authors:Arthur Ransome (Author)
Info:Harmondsworth : Puffin Books, 1969. Paperback.
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:20th century, UK author

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Coot Club by Arthur Ransome (1934)

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This is the first of a subseries within the Swallows and Amazons series, involving similar boating adventures but in the Norfolk Broads instead of the northern lake where the first books are set.This and especially the second in this group, The Big Six (which was my favorite when young) involve a certain crime fiction element not in the earlier subseries. ( )
  antiquary | Dec 21, 2013 |
Somehow, this one is less satisfying than the other books. Possibly because Dorothea is mostly the POV character, rather than Dick, and as usual she's so busy making up "exciting" stories that she's not really paying attention to what's actually happening. And the scenes that would be the most interesting - the D's learning to sail - are told rather than shown - external viewpoint. Tom's adventures are actually very strong, and real, though mostly unpleasant (or at least, the consequences would be unpleasant if they actually happened). The bit I like best is when Port and Starboard are chasing after the Teasel - going from the familiar to the barely familiar to the completely unfamiliar, chasing a will-o-the-wisp...and then the consequences of those postcards. Again, it would be interesting to see the whole thing from a grownup point of view (the Admiral barely counts, she's more casual than the children most of the time). And the final crisis, and the way the cloud that's hung over the whole story passes off is excellent. Heh, I bet the boat owners weren't any too happy with the Hullabaloos either, wrecking the Margoletta twice in a week. Good story, just not one of my favorites. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Sep 24, 2013 |
The first of the two Swallows and Amazons books set on the Norfolk Broads, linked to the other books in the series by Dick and Dorothea from Winter Holiday. It's a few months after their trip to the North Pole, and they are still smitten with the sailing bug. So naturally they are very pleased when an old friend of their mother invites them to stay with her on a yacht in Norfolk. Unfortunately, it looks as though the boat won't actually be going anywhere... Of course, they make friends with some local kids who are all keen sailors, and find themselves involved in a complicated scheme to protect one of them when he has to go underground to hide from a bunch of Hullabulloos.

Tom-Dudgeon-the-doctor’s-son (there is always a bit of a Happy Families aspect to Ransome) is an interesting new character: a bit like Captain John in the boyish way he carries the heavy weight of responsibility around with him, but with intriguing extra elements of handyman and ecoterrorist thrown into the mixture. The twins Port and Starboard are fun, but maybe a bit too generic. You get the impression that Ransome must have built them up out of a brief glimpse of two little girls in a racing dinghy, filling in the details where needed with bits of generic Nancy-and-Peggyness. Something I hadn't noticed when I read these books before is the cunning way Ransome never commits himself to saying how old the children are. That way he allows readers of a wide range of ages to identify with the characters, and he also gives himself the maximum freedom to make them independent or vulnerable as required by the plot.

The three working-class lads who make up the crew of the Death And Glory seem to be a slightly too obvious concession to objections against the cosy middle-classness of the earlier books. They don't really emerge as individuals in this book, although of course they do have a much bigger role in The big six. The working-class adults who appear are portrayed affectionately and quite convincingly, but there is always a slightly patronising edge there. An elderly barge-skipper is shown to us as someone who should be respected for his experience and craft knowledge, but we’re left in no doubt at all that he has to acknowledge the little daughters of a country solicitor as his social superiors. We’re definitely still in 1930s England!

Unlike the Lake District books, where Ransome found it necessary to obfuscate the locations a little bit, these Norfolk books are very specific geographically. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, it's now easy to find old Popular Edition Ordnance maps from the 1940s where you can follow their entire journey, including all the old railway bridges that aren't there any more. Ransome’s own sketch-maps are part of the fun of reading these books, of course, but it's nice to be able to relate them to a wider context, especially in places like Yarmouth, where so much has changed in the last fifty years. ( )
2 vote thorold | Jun 15, 2013 |
I re-read Coot Club (and the Big Six) after seeing an episode of "Rivers" on TV and realising how I recognised the places from Arthur Ransome's descriptions and drawings. A perfect story, evoking what it is to develop a passion for sailing and the importance of looking after wild places. ( )
  Figgles | Apr 8, 2010 |
(Alistair) And coming down now from Blogathon, it's back to the bookloggins, as the pile on my desk is not getting any shorter. In fact, quite the opposite. And so, first, we return to my childhood books with the next in the Swallows and Amazons series - the fifth, which is also the first one, in fact, which contains neither a Swallow nor an Amazon.

In this book, we visit both a new part of the world - the Norfolk Broads - and a new group of people, the eponymous Coot Club - Tom Dudgeon, the twin sisters Port and Starboard, and the three piratical Death and Glories - and their bird protection efforts, when Dick and Dorothea Callum, who we met in Winter Holiday come to visit during their Easter holidays, a few months after the last book, hoping to learn to sail. And so, when they become entangled with the affairs of the Coot Club after entirely the wrong sort of tourist moors in exactly the wrong place, further ripping adventures ensue...

Another excellent contribution to the series, quite definitely. These books really are timeless; I enjoy them today every bit as much as I did when I first read them. Recommended.

( http://weblog.siliconcerebrate.com/cerebrate/2009/07/coot_club_arthur_ransome.ht... ) ( )
  libraryofus | Jan 14, 2010 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Arthur Ransomeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guillemot-Magitot, G.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woolf, GabrielNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0879237872, Paperback)

It all started with a coot's nest. Dorothy and Dick meet Tom Dodgeon, Port and Starboard, and three pirate salvagers all members of the Coot Club Bird Protection Society. When one of the coot's nests is disturbed by a shipful of Hullabaloos-rude holiday boaters - trouble begins. Frantic chases, calamitous boat collisions, and near drownings fill the pages of this exciting fifth addition to Ransome's classic children's series.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:08 -0400)

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Dorothy and Dick have an adventure in the English countryside, involving frantic chases, calamitous boat collisions, and the attempts of their friends to protect nesting birds from rude holiday boaters.

(summary from another edition)

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