This is the first book of a 12 book series, written by Arthur Ransome. You are introduced to the Walker family taking a summer holiday during the 1930's in the Lake District where years before the mother had spent some of her holidays. The father is in the Royal Navy onboard a ship based in Malta but heading to Hong-Kong. The children are John, Susan, Titty, and Roger. Baby Vicky appears in this book, but remains with the mother at the lakeside cottage. Hilariously enough, Baby Vicky really is named Bridget, but is called Vicky because of her resemblance to the aging Queen Victoria! The children are allowed to camp on an island they see in the middle of the lake. They sail to the island and around the lake in the little boat "Swallow". Once on the island, we are introduced to the Blackett sisters, Nancy and Peggy. They live in the area and have traditionally camped on the island, which they have named "Wild Cat Island". The Blackett sisters sail under the Jolly Roger and tout themselves as Amazon pirates (their boat is named "Amazon")! So will it be war between the two camps? Or eventual peace? War for awhile, but then peace and joined adventures! Thus begins joyful friendships and shared adventures of the kind that probably really could happen. The thing that I enjoy about these books so much is that while the story is being told, a seamless yet joyful flipping between reality and childhood fancy happens. For example, when the Walker children take their mother for a voyage in "Swallow", they insist, "You can be Queen Elizabeth going aboard the ships at Greenwich that were sailing to the Indies." and then immediately their mother becomes Queen Elizabeth in the story. When the voyage is finished, she returns to being their mother, but deems their voyage a success. This kind of imagination in the middle of play and action I find to be very wonderful.So I recommend these books highly!! Read them one and read them all!******Reading this aloud again in the evenings, and finding it just as much fun this time through!