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The Swiss Family Robinson

Johann David Wyss

Book Overview: 

The Swiss Family Robinson has delighted generations of readers with its exciting tale of a family which, though shipwrecked, displays “the right stuff” and builds a charming colony that later, they do not want to leave. Cut off from the comforts and companionship of other humans, they use a familiarity with natural history and biology to find the resources and build the tools to construct a canoe, weave cloth, irrigate a garden, and turn an immense hollow tree into a lofty house with a spiral staircase. They domesticate buffaloes, wild asses, and monkeys. They establish farms and plantations. And finally, they have a terrifying encounter with natives from a nearby island.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .God. We set out on our pilgrimage, each carrying a game-bag and a gun. My wife and her eldest son led the way, followed by the heavily-laden cow and ass; the third division consisted of the goats, driven by Jack, the little monkey seated on the back of its nurse, and grimacing, to our great amusement; next came Ernest, with the sheep; and I followed, superintending the whole. Our gallant dogs acted as aides-de-camp, and were continually passing from the front to the rear rank.

[pg 061]

Our march was slow, but orderly, and quite patriarchal. "We are now travelling across the deserts, as our first fathers did," said I, "and as the Arabs, Tartars, and other nomade nations do to this day, followed by their flocks and herds. But these people generally have strong camels to bear their burdens, instead of a poor ass and cow. I hope this may be the last of our pilgrimages." My wife also hoped that, once under the shade of her marvellous trees, we should have no t. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Its fascinating to read these reviews and see how many people judge a story of this time period by the values of the 21st century. I doubt any of the people who have written these reviews have ever missed a meal let alone faced the dangers of survival in a wilderness.
The story was written to f...more

they kill or enslave everything in sight, whether they need it or not. they pray before they do anything. i'm pretty sure the matriarch of the family was never actually named, but merely called "the mother" or "my wife" any time she was relevant, which was not very often. near the end of the book...more

Wow. What a relief to have that out of the way ... I have been painstakingly pushing my way through this book for a while now. Having said that, I always thought that The Swiss Family Robinson was just the type of story that I would like. Going into it, my expectations were high and I think my en...more

*****SPOILER ALERT *****
I've read it now, and it does not measure up to the Disney movie. It was so ridiculous! The boys shoot every animal they see, which range from inhabitants of the African savannah, Australia, and the American northwest -- yes, hippos, rhinos, lions, tigers, kangaroos, bears...more

I've read this a couple times to the boys. As a mom of boys, I loved it. It is fun to read of the ingenious solutions for survival, and I love their constant reliance on and gratitude to God.

And Eric says:

I love the many passages of the book that go something like this...After my wife and childre...more

I have such fond memories of this from seeing the old movie version as a kid. I never got around to reading it then, so I thought I'd give it a go!

The family togetherness and sense of adventure is all there. It's just lacking musical accompaniment and sound effects. It is an old 'un so the writin...more

I liked the story well enough. If I had read a decent translation I might have given it 4 stars. It's a great concept, being stranded on a beautiful tropical island. Their perception over 200 years ago would be quite different than ours today. Some things that bothered me were the stereotyping re...more

I had no idea this one had so many negative reviews... oh well, it appears I am once again in the minority, although funnily enough now I'm apparently the only one who loves this, while everyone else hates it. Never mind, someone has to hold down the fort.

This has always been my favourite classic...more

When I first started this book, I found it rather comical at how many reviewers were appalled by all the animals that were killed, (mostly for food, some for safety, albeit, some for sport or rather teenage childishness). And I thought to myself, not having read the book yet "Where do these reade...more

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