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Winter holidays can be just as fun as summer with the Swallows and Amazons!

'You know what it's like. Dark at teatime and sleeping indoors: nothing ever happens in the winter holidays.'

Or so Nancy thinks. Then the lake ices over completely and the Swallows and Amazons, along with Dick and Dorothea - ‘the D’s’ - plan a race to find the North Pole. How will they reach it if they can’t sail? By sledges of course! But when a blizzard blows up and there is a mix up about signals, the D’s disappear into the Arctic night. Disaster looms. Can the Swallows and Amazons save their friends?

BACKSTORY: Crack the Swallows and Amazons' code and learn all about the real Arctic exploration that inspired this book.

Reviews

Winter Holiday is my favourite Arthur Ransome, the one into which I want to walk even now - if only it would just snow. Its depiction of the Lake District in winter is totally compelling. You can teach yourself to skate from Ransome's descriptions of the first tentative pushes across the ice-bound tarn

Guardian

The children are kind to each other, the parents are loving, and there's no violence - it's hard to imagine nowadays, and it's all the more charming for that

Daily Telegraph

Winter Holiday by Arthur Ransome is 80 years old but it remains a delightfully fresh read

Scotsman

Full of nostalgia for a time when summer holidays seemed to go on forever, unaccompanied children could sail off on adventures together, and ginger beer was ever-present. And the appeal of such things still remains

Independent

So what makes these different to any other set of classics? In a moment of inspiration Random House had the bright idea of actually asking Key stage 2 children what extra ingredients they could add to make children want to read. And does it work? Well, put it this way...my 13-year-old daughter announced that she had to read a book over the summer holiday and, without any prompting, spotted The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas...and proceeded to read it! Now, if you knew my 13-year-old daughter, you would realise that this is quite remarkable. She reads texts, blogs and tags by the thousand - but this is the first book she has read since going to high school, so all hail Vintage Classics!

National Association for the Teaching of English

'Nothing ever happens in the winter holidays’, says Nancy Blackett. But how wrong can she be? When the lake freezes over, the Swallows and Amazons decide the time is right to race to the North Pole. Clearly this is no weather for boats so they set out on sledges. The children discover that lakes without boats can be exciting after all. But a sudden blizzard turns excitement to danger as two new friends go missing. Winter Holiday (Vintage Classics, £6.99) by Arthur Ransome is 80 years old but it remains a delightfully fresh read

Jane Sandall, Scotsman

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780099573654

    September 3, 2012

    Vintage Children's Classics

    512 pages

    RRP $14.99

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  • Paperback

    9780099427179

    December 7, 2001

    Red Fox

    368 pages

    RRP $22.99

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  • Hardback

    9780224606349

    October 1, 1989

    Jonathan Cape

    368 pages

    RRP $46.99

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    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781448155309

    September 6, 2012

    Vintage Digital

    512 pages

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    • iBooks
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  • EBook

    9781446483107

    June 30, 2011

    RHCP Digital

    368 pages

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Also by Arthur Ransome

Winter Holiday (Vintage Christmas)
Swallows and Amazons
Peter Duck
Swallowdale
Coot Club
We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea
Pigeon Post
Great Northern?
Secret Water
The Big Six
The Picts and the Martyrs
Coots In The North And Other Stories
Missee Lee

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If I Stay
The BFG
The Royal Academy of Sport for Girls 1: High Flyers
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All The Bright Places
The Sun is also a Star
After
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Home Time (Book One)
LGB Dreamworks How To Train Your Dragon
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