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Seacrow Island (The New York Review Books Children's Collection)

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Tiny Seacrow Island is one of hundreds of islands in the sparkling blue of the Baltic Sea. Though small, it has everything you’d want in an island: woods to wander in, flowers to pick, fish to catch, boats to sail in, all kinds of animals. But it doesn’t have very many young people. So when the four Melkerson kids and their father move into Carpenter’s Cottage one June day Tiny Seacrow Island is one of hundreds of islands in the sparkling blue of the Baltic Sea. Though small, it has everything you’d want in an island: woods to wander in, flowers to pick, fish to catch, boats to sail in, all kinds of animals. But it doesn’t have very many young people. So when the four Melkerson kids and their father move into Carpenter’s Cottage one June day, they’re immediately welcomed by the resourceful islanders: Johan and Niklas Melkerson, at twelve and thirteen, are natural companions for adventurous Freddy and Teddy (girls exactly their age); dreamy Pelle, the baby of the family, gets up to trouble with bossy Tjorven and fanciful Stina; and ever-responsible Malin, who at nineteen looks after her scatterbrained father as well as her brothers, catches the eye of all the island’s young men. Before long Seacrow Island and Carpenter’s Cottage (tumbledown and leaky though it may be) have become a real home for the Melkersons.  Seacrow Island is a remarkable story, filled with sweetness and sorrow, humor and suspense, and peopled with the vivid, unexpected, wonderfully winning characters we’ve come to expect from the creator of the unforgettable Pippi Longstocking.


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Tiny Seacrow Island is one of hundreds of islands in the sparkling blue of the Baltic Sea. Though small, it has everything you’d want in an island: woods to wander in, flowers to pick, fish to catch, boats to sail in, all kinds of animals. But it doesn’t have very many young people. So when the four Melkerson kids and their father move into Carpenter’s Cottage one June day Tiny Seacrow Island is one of hundreds of islands in the sparkling blue of the Baltic Sea. Though small, it has everything you’d want in an island: woods to wander in, flowers to pick, fish to catch, boats to sail in, all kinds of animals. But it doesn’t have very many young people. So when the four Melkerson kids and their father move into Carpenter’s Cottage one June day, they’re immediately welcomed by the resourceful islanders: Johan and Niklas Melkerson, at twelve and thirteen, are natural companions for adventurous Freddy and Teddy (girls exactly their age); dreamy Pelle, the baby of the family, gets up to trouble with bossy Tjorven and fanciful Stina; and ever-responsible Malin, who at nineteen looks after her scatterbrained father as well as her brothers, catches the eye of all the island’s young men. Before long Seacrow Island and Carpenter’s Cottage (tumbledown and leaky though it may be) have become a real home for the Melkersons.  Seacrow Island is a remarkable story, filled with sweetness and sorrow, humor and suspense, and peopled with the vivid, unexpected, wonderfully winning characters we’ve come to expect from the creator of the unforgettable Pippi Longstocking.

30 review for Seacrow Island (The New York Review Books Children's Collection)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    "Hemma på vår gata i stan..." In the summer of 2020, when people rediscover vacation in the close vicinity of "their street in town", as Stina would label her Stockholm home, the recommended reading list will look different from other years too. May I make a case for one of Astrid Lindgren's lesser known books, one of those that were eclipsed by the wonderful tv series but turns out to be quite a piece of art when you finally get to read the original story to your children? A writer, quite clumsy, "Hemma på vår gata i stan..." In the summer of 2020, when people rediscover vacation in the close vicinity of "their street in town", as Stina would label her Stockholm home, the recommended reading list will look different from other years too. May I make a case for one of Astrid Lindgren's lesser known books, one of those that were eclipsed by the wonderful tv series but turns out to be quite a piece of art when you finally get to read the original story to your children? A writer, quite clumsy, takes his family to a messy house on an island in the Stockholm Archipelago and discovers a microcosm of people mirroring the big world in all possible ways. Even though nothing much happens, a lot goes on in the minds of vacation guests and native islanders alike. For all of us who stare at vouchers from cancelled trips, a happy summer close by "hemma på vår gata i stan" may contain surprises we don't expect! To staycation season, from a teacher seeing the end of the term coming ... whatever is not a classroom is a good holiday!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Manybooks

    Ferien auf Saltkrokan (titled Vi på Saltkåkan in the original Swedish) was one of my absolute favourite Astrid Lindgren novels from when I was a child (and even from when I was a teenager, when I rather continuously if not obsessively reread it and so much so that the novel began to fall apart). I loved reading Astrid Lindgren's magical and evocative descriptions of the rugged Swedish coastline and its small islands with their delightful and generally pretty well self-sustaining and self-suffici Ferien auf Saltkrokan (titled Vi på Saltkåkan in the original Swedish) was one of my absolute favourite Astrid Lindgren novels from when I was a child (and even from when I was a teenager, when I rather continuously if not obsessively reread it and so much so that the novel began to fall apart). I loved reading Astrid Lindgren's magical and evocative descriptions of the rugged Swedish coastline and its small islands with their delightful and generally pretty well self-sustaining and self-sufficient life and culture. I adored young but oh so self-assured Tjorven and her faithful Saint Bernard Bootsmann, and indeed I also found the bumbling author father of the Melkersson clan while at times annoyingly childish and impractical, generally immensely loveable (and of course the ending of Ferien auf Saltkrokan, where two of the youngest children, where Tjorven and Pelle manage to do what the adults have not been able to achieve, where the two children manage to save the desired holiday house from being bought by a scheming developer by locating the actual owner of the cottage and purchasing it for just some pocket change, both surprising the adults and of course massively angering and infuriating the entitled and superior acting developer and lawyer, that has always made me smile with very much appreciation). However and that having all been said, as an older adult rereading Ferien auf Saltkrokan, while I still enjoy and appreciate most of what I adored about the novel in my younger days (albeit that I do now kind of think that in particular Tjorven is depicted in a rather exaggerated fashion by Astrid Lindgren), there is also quite some annoying and frustrating personal displeasure present. For as an older reader, I do indeed consider the almost constant childish helplessness of the father rather problematic at times (and would like to shake Melker Melkersson a bit into reason), not so much because he is disorganised, distracted and generally forgetful (and with the tendency towards emotional outbursts at all and sundry problems and potential issues), but more so because Melker Melkersson totally and without any type of contrition and shame on his part gladly seems more than willing to let his oldest daughter, to force 19 year old Malin to shoulder ALL responsibilities for the family and for how the family home is run and kept working. And while of course I do still very much like reading Ferien auf Saltkrokan, I do NOT so much anymore (if at all) really appreciate the amount of constant domestic responsibilities, chores and duties Malin has on her young shoulders and that the entire family (from her father to her brothers) seem to think that Malin is somehow their domestic servant in many ways, with the brothers even actively attempting to thwart any and all romantic aspirations their sister might have and simply because they do not want Malin to marry (and thus leave them without their "housekeeper"). Therefore, while I still do highly recommend Ferien auf Saltkrokan (which seems to be called Seacrow Island in its English translations), I do indeed only recommend the novel with the caveat that there should in my humble opinion and yes definitely also be some major discussion regarding the amount of domestic duties Malin Melkersson is constantly being saddled with and that everyone (and in my opinion even Astrid Lindgren herself to a point) seems to regard her as simply a housewifely type of person, as basically the one person in the Melkersson family who is and should be (even though she is only 19 years of age) responsible for everything and that it is even seen as acceptable and normal, natural that her father simply does nothing and is generally not responsible for anything regarding house and home.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Liis

    This is without a doubt my favorite book by Astrid Lindgren. I remember being twelve or so and saving up to buy my own copy. The book still remains on my bookshelf and I like to pick it up and read it every once in a while. It doesn't feel like a children's book when I read it. It simply feels like a wonderful and heartwarming story about children on Seatcrow island. It's definitely a book I'll be reading to my own children:) I recommend this book wholeheartedly!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Astrid Lindgren is of course the creator of Pippi Longstocking. This book is rather different, being a character-driven family story. Malker is a widowed, deeply impractical, writer. His oldest child and only daughter, Malin, is 19, and looks after the household (all the cooking, cleaning, mending, etc) and her three younger brothers. Niklas and Johan are 12 and 13 (I don't remember which is which), and Pelle, the youngest boy, who is crazy about animals, is 8. The book opens on board a ferry bo Astrid Lindgren is of course the creator of Pippi Longstocking. This book is rather different, being a character-driven family story. Malker is a widowed, deeply impractical, writer. His oldest child and only daughter, Malin, is 19, and looks after the household (all the cooking, cleaning, mending, etc) and her three younger brothers. Niklas and Johan are 12 and 13 (I don't remember which is which), and Pelle, the youngest boy, who is crazy about animals, is 8. The book opens on board a ferry boat on its way to an isolated island off Sweden's coast where Malker has impulsively rented a summer cottage sight unseen. The cottage turns out to be dilapidated yet cozy, and the family is soon having little summer adventures, and getting to know the islanders. The cover illustration is appealing and I like stories about both islands and families so I was really prepared to love this book. But to my surprise, I found it a little hard to get in to. Perhaps the translation was not quite as fluid as it could have been. I felt sorry for Malin for having all the responsibility of the household on her shoulders. Her father is essentially an additional child, which is never a situation that I find charming, although I think Lindgren means us to. Malin's diary entries, which are interspersed throughout the book, have a bright artificial tone that I found off-putting (perhaps it would have been more realistic to have her express some ambivalence about her situation!). Niklas and Johan never really developed distinct personalities in my mind. I was also unconvinced by Tjorven, a seven year-old island girl, who, Lindgren assures us, has a sort of magnetic charm that enthralls all the characters, but to which I was impervious. However, I kept reading, and I'm glad I did. The book doesn't end at the close of the summer as one might expect, but covers a full year, so you see the island in Fall, Winter and Spring, and start to feel at home there. The characters also grew on me, especially Pelle, with his fervent love of animals, including his "pet" wasps who live under the eaves. A major problem at the end was resolved in a rather facile way, but even so, when the book ended I was distinctly sorry to say goodbye to Seacrow Island.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Pop Bop

    If Enid Blyton Had Been Swedish, and a Bit Edgier This is a warm and affectionate memoir of a close family's summer on a remote island, but I read it as a bit edgier, (and thus more interesting), than many of the reviewers who have comfy childhood memories of this book. This isn't "The Sound of Music" with fish. The Melkerson family comprises father Melker, who is rather scatterbrained, theatrical and ineffectual, except when he's not. We have twelve and thirteen year old Johan and Niklas and "bab If Enid Blyton Had Been Swedish, and a Bit Edgier This is a warm and affectionate memoir of a close family's summer on a remote island, but I read it as a bit edgier, (and thus more interesting), than many of the reviewers who have comfy childhood memories of this book. This isn't "The Sound of Music" with fish. The Melkerson family comprises father Melker, who is rather scatterbrained, theatrical and ineffectual, except when he's not. We have twelve and thirteen year old Johan and Niklas and "baby" Pelle who are more typical young boys. For me, the central figure of the family is nineteen year old Malin, the daughter who is essentially the mother/housekeeper/responsible adult for this crowd. She is buffeted and confused and exasperated by all of her roles and is fascinating as she switches gears and moods during the course of the summer, (actually, sometimes during the course of a day). On top of all of this we have the islanders, who are a mixed bag of characters, mostly with redeeming or at least eccentric and engaging qualities. Leading the island pack is seven year old Tjorven, a willful independent neighbor girl who is usually at the center of the action. This is not some mild Swedish version of "Five Little Peppers" or "Little Women". This has some vinegar and conflict and spark that spices up the island summer. There are touching family scenes, some sensitive nature writing, a few antic comedy events, lots of swimming and boating, some very dry humor, (a dog and a fish having a staring contest), a bit of suspense and adventure, and some broad humor. Underlying it all is an odd blend of cheer and wistfulness. The Melkerson children can be difficult or careless, but Lindgren draws them with affection, not judgment, and leaves us with a sweet and bracing memory of a real family during a real summer in a real place. This may be children's literature, but the emphasis here is on literature. (Although it's curious to note that this is actually a novelization of the beloved 13 episode T.V. series that Lindgren wrote in 1964.) Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of the new edition of this book, (same Ramsden translation), in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Pavel

    Little idillic island parted from the main land. Few good people live here in peace, having simple jobs, great food, amazing landscapes and a lot of fun. Tjorven, 7 years old girl, who's having huge dog, named Båtsman and wild, strong and independent temper (she's easily can be placed in the gallery of such Lindgren characters as Pippi or Karlson). Pelle, same age, who's living here with his family in Summer and having wasps as pets. Stina, who's fighting with Tjorven for Pelle attention and having Little idillic island parted from the main land. Few good people live here in peace, having simple jobs, great food, amazing landscapes and a lot of fun. Tjorven, 7 years old girl, who's having huge dog, named Båtsman and wild, strong and independent temper (she's easily can be placed in the gallery of such Lindgren characters as Pippi or Karlson). Pelle, same age, who's living here with his family in Summer and having wasps as pets. Stina, who's fighting with Tjorven for Pelle attention and having a little seal. Melker Melkersson, Epikhodov-like arrogant Pelle's father, who can't do anything right and tends a lot towards theatretical poses and speeches, but recieves a lot of love from his children. Johan and Niklas, his other two sons who are Tommy and Annika of this story. And Teddy and Freddy, two Tjorven sisters, who are teaching Johan and Niklas to live on this isolated island. Malin, elder sister of Pelle, Johan and Niklas, who plays mother's role in their family since they have no real mother and whole gallery of her admirers. Children are fighting guys who are hitting on Malin, fearing they will loose her. Tjorven and Stina competing over Pelle. Melker tries to play a cool guy in front of other people. All those people are fun, funny and good and yet not sugary even a little bit. A lot of beatifull realistic prose by Astrid Lindgren, which we loved with my daughter.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Aldi

    Generally Astrid Lindgren can do no wrong for me and I know she can't help the period she grew up in and all the ingrained sexism and gender roles but wow, some serious side-eye here for how a 19-year-old-girl is totally expected by everyone to cheerfully embrace and love her role as kitchen slave and replacement mum for her scatterbrained widowed writer dad and "lovably" terrible three younger brothers. (Until some dude worthy of her and approved by all the other males in her family comes along Generally Astrid Lindgren can do no wrong for me and I know she can't help the period she grew up in and all the ingrained sexism and gender roles but wow, some serious side-eye here for how a 19-year-old-girl is totally expected by everyone to cheerfully embrace and love her role as kitchen slave and replacement mum for her scatterbrained widowed writer dad and "lovably" terrible three younger brothers. (Until some dude worthy of her and approved by all the other males in her family comes along to sweep her off her feet into married bliss, of course). It's kinda sad considering how Lindgren's more fantasy-based heroines (Ronja & Pippi) would burst out laughing at the idea of being expected to fit into those stereotypes, but the moment she wrote a story set in the real world, the bossy-but-cheerful mother/caretaker role seemed to be the only one available to women. Right. I think I'm just gonna focus on the celebration of uninhibited childhood funtimes and animal rights, instead :p

  8. 4 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    I'm marking this historical fiction though it was contemporary when it was written in the 1960s. The Mekerson family has rented a cottage on Seacrow Island for the summer. Their planned holiday doesn't quite go as expected at first: the island is only accessible by boat, they arrived in the pouring rain to a freezing cold, damp house with a leaky roof and the only children are girls! Once the sun comes out, however, the Melkersons discover just how charming Seacrow Island is. From the old beyond I'm marking this historical fiction though it was contemporary when it was written in the 1960s. The Mekerson family has rented a cottage on Seacrow Island for the summer. Their planned holiday doesn't quite go as expected at first: the island is only accessible by boat, they arrived in the pouring rain to a freezing cold, damp house with a leaky roof and the only children are girls! Once the sun comes out, however, the Melkersons discover just how charming Seacrow Island is. From the old beyond her years little Tjorven and her dog to tomboyish girls always ready for adventure, the Melkerson boys have a magical summer. It's only the eldest, Malin, age 19, who wonders when her time for a romantic adventure will come. This story was really slow to start off with and I had a hard time getting into it. It didn't pick up for me until the last third when there was a cohesive plot to glue the story together and keep me reading. The Melkersons are not all that interesting or memorable, but the people they meet and the adventures they have are both interesting and enjoyable. With the island setting this story could have been set in Maritime Canada or New England. It felt like Maine to me. I felt very sorry for Malin having to assume a motherly caregiver role at such a young age. Between Pelle's dependency and the older boys' teasing, she had no chance at a personal life. Pelle is the character I can relate to the most. I identified with his need for an animal companion and felt his emotions right along with him. I liked little Tjorven and her beloved pets. When I was that age I would have loved to be a part of their adventure with Moses and probably would have acted the same way. I also loved her rivalry with Stina and Stina's firm belief in fairy tales. That part was very funny. I wasn't crazy about Mr. Melkerson. He's like a big child and relies on Malin as much as the boys do- if not more. He was so absent-minded and lost to anything practical. His attempts to make the house more convenient for Malin were amusing but mostly I found him annoying. The ending is a little unrealistic but charming and just right for a children's book written in the mid-20th century.

  9. 4 out of 5

    evelina

    I just love Astrid Lindgren so much and she is my childhood. I honestly want to jump into (almost) all of her stories and live their lives.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)

    A good comfort read about the perfect summer holiday. The house is less than perfect, but that makes it more like "camping out" for the kids. Each of the four Melkerson gets a chapter or two in which to shine, from little animal-loving Pele and his island friends to 19-yr-old Malin that all the boys flock to, though she just wants to sit alone and relax from her family duties. Mum died in childbirth so it just naturally fell to her to take over as "parent" at the age of 14. Their father is yet an A good comfort read about the perfect summer holiday. The house is less than perfect, but that makes it more like "camping out" for the kids. Each of the four Melkerson gets a chapter or two in which to shine, from little animal-loving Pele and his island friends to 19-yr-old Malin that all the boys flock to, though she just wants to sit alone and relax from her family duties. Mum died in childbirth so it just naturally fell to her to take over as "parent" at the age of 14. Their father is yet another child for Malin to look after, an otherworldly writer who thinks he can do anything and often tries, with disastrous results. Their relationships with the other adults on the island could have been developed a bit more, as they were a bit cardboard/background, but it is, after all, a children's book! The only character I didn't care for was little Tjorven, a bossy six-year-old girl who manages to make most people, kids and adults both, do what she wants. Which is surprising, as her character is pretty obnoxious, yelling "Are you deaf??" at people who don't jump to do her bidding. I found that interesting, as at first she is presented as a loveable, pretty little girl that everyone adopts as soon as they see her. Maybe the author herself didn't warm to her. I have heard that often characters will not do what the author wants them to do; Tjorven may be a case in point. And of course all kids know someone like her, who uses her "cuteness" to get her own way with adults, while tyrannising over her peers in games etc. And some of them never grow out of it, continuing to do this well into adulthood. I do know I got tired of her, and found myself skimming scenes she was in because she got far too much page-time toward the end.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    The Melkersons rent a home on an island accessible only by boat. The father is a widower. The oldest daughter takes care of household things. The youngest son loves animals. Mr. Melkerson plans to go to the house each year on vacation, but his plans are threatened when the house is to be sold. It's a "comfort read" more than a children's book. I prefer Pippi Longstocking to this book, but it might make a good read aloud for some children.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kiel

    Such a delightful book, full of family love, friendship and childhood adventure. Lindgren’s lovely prose was beautifully translated in this version, too.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I have long been a fan of Astrid Lindgren (what childhood is complete without Pippi Longstocking?!) and I have enjoyed exploring her other books over the years, as have my own children. In theory this seems a very unexciting, and unoriginal, premise for a story- a family rent a cottage for the summer on Seacrow Island. Of course, islands tend to feature strongly in children’s literature – from the Famous Five on a Treasure Island to Swallows and Amazons. One of the major differences here – with I have long been a fan of Astrid Lindgren (what childhood is complete without Pippi Longstocking?!) and I have enjoyed exploring her other books over the years, as have my own children. In theory this seems a very unexciting, and unoriginal, premise for a story- a family rent a cottage for the summer on Seacrow Island. Of course, islands tend to feature strongly in children’s literature – from the Famous Five on a Treasure Island to Swallows and Amazons. One of the major differences here – with no disrespect to either of the titles mentioned earlier, as I love both – is that this is about a family. This is not children going off alone, but it is about the dynamics of a family and how they react to being away from the bustle of the city and how the residents of that island react to them. In that sense, it is something children can relate to much more easily. After all, not that many children are really allowed to go off and spend time on uninhabited islands, but many more have experienced family holidays; complete with the rather basic accommodation that the family are faced with. The Melkerson family consists of a father and his four children – his nineteen year old daughter, Malin, who is very much the mother figure in this book, Johan, Niklas and seven year old Pelle. The father is impulsive and childlike and so Malin very much has to keep him in check and organise everything. This is about nature, relationships and a long summer, in which the family get to explore both the place they are in and how they feel about their lives. This is not all warmth and charm and ease, but it is very realistic and, ultimately, heart warming. I have a lot of admiration for Astrid Lindgren and I hope readers will explore her other books, outside of the most famous Pippi Longstocking stories, as there is so much to enjoy. This is sure to become a favourite and is perfect for children of approx 8+.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    I read this as my entry for "A Children's Classic" in the back to the classics-challenge 2018. I have loved many of Lindgren's books so very much - The Children of Noisy Village in particular is one of my all time favourite books. So I went into this fully expecting to love it, but somehow, it didn't quite live up to my expectations. The problem, I think, though, is that I am no longer a child. I have simply come to this book too late in life. Had I read it in childhood - perhaps during a vacati I read this as my entry for "A Children's Classic" in the back to the classics-challenge 2018. I have loved many of Lindgren's books so very much - The Children of Noisy Village in particular is one of my all time favourite books. So I went into this fully expecting to love it, but somehow, it didn't quite live up to my expectations. The problem, I think, though, is that I am no longer a child. I have simply come to this book too late in life. Had I read it in childhood - perhaps during a vacation at the seaside - I would surely love it now as much as Lindgren's other books that I read as a child. The story is very wholesome and sweet, perhaps a little too sweet for a jaded adult like myself. But f0r a child, particularly a whimsical, "old-soul", nostalgic child as I was many moons ago, this would have surely been perfect. The passages from Malin's diary do read a little dated and breathe the atmosphere of the 1950s books for girls I found in my mother's childhood bookshelf, but the rest of the story is as fresh and atmospheric as Lindgren's other stories. If anything, this book made me very sad. Sad, because I am no longer the child who can appreciate this world.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    Written in the 1940s, this story follows the Melkerson family as they spend the summer at the Carpenter's Cottage on Seacrow Island located in the Swedish archepeliago. There's the quirky dad; the older sister, Malin, who holds the family together; the two older boys; and young Pelle--no mother and we never learn why. This is a good story with a Swedish feel about it. At some point in the book, each chapter is an adventure all by itself. I had to give this story lots of stars; afterall, Astrid Li Written in the 1940s, this story follows the Melkerson family as they spend the summer at the Carpenter's Cottage on Seacrow Island located in the Swedish archepeliago. There's the quirky dad; the older sister, Malin, who holds the family together; the two older boys; and young Pelle--no mother and we never learn why. This is a good story with a Swedish feel about it. At some point in the book, each chapter is an adventure all by itself. I had to give this story lots of stars; afterall, Astrid Lindgren wrote the "Pippi Longstocking" books.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kairi

    Curious-minded Tjorven might just make the best kids book ever written! An excellent guidebook for dealing with common everyday nuisances such as awkward adults, boyfriends and nosy neighbors... and all that while enjoying a glorious summer full of explorations and swimming in clothes. You will also learn about big dogs and how to tie a boat up the shore so you don´t have to swim back home. When I grow up I´ll be Tjorven.

  17. 4 out of 5

    ms bookjunkie

    This book is my favorite Astrid Lindgren story EVER! I reread it often, at least once a year. When I come across it on people's shelves, I have to pick it up and skim a few pages. Ilon Wickland's illustrations are the best!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nelleke

    A really nice book. This should be my favourite book when I was young, if I read it then. It is a book with all perfect elements, a beautiful island, a nice house, lovely children, a weird dad, a big nice dog, a seal as a pet.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    A delight to read with my daughter. She loved all the antics of "Uncle Melker" as well as related to the younger children. A beautiful story about the things that make life worth living.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Hanna

    This is such a nostalgic and wonderful story. I love the character Tjorven and the setting of the story reminds me of summer and how I used to spend my summers when I was little.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jelka

    Pure childhood joy. I've read this book before and liked it, but this time it established itself as one of my all time favourites. Sure, Melker is a big man-child, but he is also lovable. Though, I am sorry for Malin.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gremrien

    Loved it! A special delight of this story was in this interweaving of different generations, little joys and worries of adults, adolescents, teenagers, and young children. Usually, children books are just for one particular auditory, being dedicated to one child or a group of children of the same age; if they are of different ages, they anyway act and think quite synchronically, and everything else is just a background. Here, we have a beautiful mosaic from real life. It is very pleasant and live Loved it! A special delight of this story was in this interweaving of different generations, little joys and worries of adults, adolescents, teenagers, and young children. Usually, children books are just for one particular auditory, being dedicated to one child or a group of children of the same age; if they are of different ages, they anyway act and think quite synchronically, and everything else is just a background. Here, we have a beautiful mosaic from real life. It is very pleasant and lively. I wonder why Астрид Линдгрен did not do it in her other books. Imagine a story about Karlsson where we follow not only thoughts and actions of the main hero, Малыш, but also his brothers, and sister, and their friends, and parents, and their домомучительница, and they all create an interesting and funny complex picture. Excerpts from Malin’s diary are truly charming. I enjoyed them a lot! I paid special attention to Астрид Линдгрен’s sneering (and probably even slight disgust) towards “fairy tales” with princesses, magic and similar stuff, which was emphasized in this book. I never noticed it before, but, if you think, all her book were about ADVENTURES, not MAGIC. Yes, she sometimes offers some relatively unreal characters (like Karlsson) or relatively unreal situations (like in “Мио, мой Мио”), but they mostly refer to some psychological solutions, games of mind giving an explanation, alleviation, freedom from real problems in real life (naughty alter-ego / imaginary companion [воображаемый друг] of Малыш, compensatory fantasy in response to Bosse’s longing to be a beloved and cherished child, etc). However, mostly her books concern very usual or not-so-usual-but-completely-realistic children and their little pleasures and troubles. “Мы – на острове Сальткрока,” “Эмиль из Лённеберги” and similar are perfect examples of this approach. Not magic for the sake of entertainment, which Астрид Линдгрен apparently considered just stupid and positively spoiling children, robbing them of imagination and healthy interest to real life, nature, aminals, relationships, so beautiful and so diverse.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Storywraps

    Tiny Seacrow Island is joined by hundreds of other islands in the Baltic Sea. It is perfect because there is everything you would want an island to have, and to be. Island life is for the avid nature lover and young at heart, although not many young people live there. The Melkerson family, with four kids, rent out Carpenter's Cottage and find they are a great novelty and warmly welcomed by the locals: "Johan and Niklas Melkerson, at twelve and thirteen, are natural companions for adventurous Fred Tiny Seacrow Island is joined by hundreds of other islands in the Baltic Sea. It is perfect because there is everything you would want an island to have, and to be. Island life is for the avid nature lover and young at heart, although not many young people live there. The Melkerson family, with four kids, rent out Carpenter's Cottage and find they are a great novelty and warmly welcomed by the locals: "Johan and Niklas Melkerson, at twelve and thirteen, are natural companions for adventurous Freddy and Teddy (girls exactly their age); dreamy Pelle, the baby of the family, gets up to trouble with bossy Tjorven and fanciful Stina; and ever-responsible Malin, who at nineteen looks after her scatterbrained father as well as her brothers, catches the eye of all the island's young men." -nyrb.com After a summer's stay on Seacrow Island the Melkerson family feel like it is their new found home (albeit rundown and badly need of repair). The characters are vividly portrayed, very charming and believable. The island community is tight knit and inclusive. The setting of the story is alluring and the adventures portrayed are engrossing... luring the reader to join in and be accepted by the islanders too. This rich story is full of the best in storytelling: "sweetness and sorrow, humour and suspense" spun by the famous author of Pippi Longstocking. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would highly recommend it. -nyrb.com

  24. 5 out of 5

    Hans

    Charming picturesque adventures in the Swedish archipelago near Stockholm. An accident-prone widowed writer rents a ramshackle house on an island in the archipelago. Cue the (mis)adventures for Melker, his four children and their island friends. The book walks the line of presenting a picture of the laid-back island life that continues to this day, as well as, a snapshot of the islands in the 1960s. (I had the chance to visit the island Utö in the southern part of the archipelago earlier this su Charming picturesque adventures in the Swedish archipelago near Stockholm. An accident-prone widowed writer rents a ramshackle house on an island in the archipelago. Cue the (mis)adventures for Melker, his four children and their island friends. The book walks the line of presenting a picture of the laid-back island life that continues to this day, as well as, a snapshot of the islands in the 1960s. (I had the chance to visit the island Utö in the southern part of the archipelago earlier this summer and can say that the book still has the ring of truth.) Note: A character in John Ajvide Lindqvist's Harbor does blame Astrid Lindgren (and another author who I am forgetting) for stoking the desire of people to buy houses on the islands in the archipelago, effectively pushing out people who used to live there year-round. We passed some monster size island mansions/compounds on our ferry ride to Utö. There's a brief passage in the book that describes the Swedish war with Russia and how the Russians traveled to the archipelago and burned down the island towns. On Utö, they also filled in the mines and destroyed the other local works. Though these events happened several hundred years ago, there seems to still be a wary eye to the east.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Truehobbit

    This didn't grab me as much as Lindgren's other books have done so far, but it was still a pleasant read, and esp the last third was quite engaging. It's hard to say what was missing: either it was because of the very realistic setting - in contrast to almost all other of her stories, this did not have anything to remove it from real life, like 'fantasy' characters or a setting in the past - or because it did weaken the narrative that the TV-series had been first (though of course I can't say wh This didn't grab me as much as Lindgren's other books have done so far, but it was still a pleasant read, and esp the last third was quite engaging. It's hard to say what was missing: either it was because of the very realistic setting - in contrast to almost all other of her stories, this did not have anything to remove it from real life, like 'fantasy' characters or a setting in the past - or because it did weaken the narrative that the TV-series had been first (though of course I can't say what I would have thought if I had not known this before reading - it did, however, at times seem to feel a bit awkward.) However, like all of Lindgren's books, this, too, has loveable characters and the author's love for children just shines through: her children are often difficult, certainly impertinent (by adult standards), but also loving, happy and well-meaning - in short, real children that the author does not try to change or 'improve' in the course of the story, but rather observes with loving wonder.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    A forever fan of Pippi Longstocking, I read a recent review of this book by Astrid Lindgren that had me very curious. If it is indeed a children's book, it is meant for the child in all of us -- filled with memories of summer reading, lazy hazy days, all those books from the library. Everything about 'Seacrow Island' -- from the setting so lovingly captured, to the sometimes quirky characters, to the sense of innocence it evokes when children do the adventurous things they're meant to do, to the A forever fan of Pippi Longstocking, I read a recent review of this book by Astrid Lindgren that had me very curious. If it is indeed a children's book, it is meant for the child in all of us -- filled with memories of summer reading, lazy hazy days, all those books from the library. Everything about 'Seacrow Island' -- from the setting so lovingly captured, to the sometimes quirky characters, to the sense of innocence it evokes when children do the adventurous things they're meant to do, to the plot turns whose predictability is a reminder that reassurance is a good thing -- speaks to a place we all want to be, at least sometimes. Even when bad things happen (and they do), it's with a sense that being fully alive means encompassing it all. In a word: "Sorrow and joy go hand in hand and sometimes everything can change in the time it takes to sneeze." Best of all, it happens to be #WIT (women in translation) month.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Sometimes you just need a sweet story, and this book does the trick. Charming, everyday tale about a family who spends a summer on Seacrow Island, and falls in love with the place. Malin's little brothers worry that an island boy will take their big sister away. Pelle loves every animal he encounters, including wasps. Johan and Niklas go on innocent boating adventures with two island girls named Teddy and Freddy. Meanwhile, young Tjorven will remind you of Lindgren's beloved Pippi Longstocking, Sometimes you just need a sweet story, and this book does the trick. Charming, everyday tale about a family who spends a summer on Seacrow Island, and falls in love with the place. Malin's little brothers worry that an island boy will take their big sister away. Pelle loves every animal he encounters, including wasps. Johan and Niklas go on innocent boating adventures with two island girls named Teddy and Freddy. Meanwhile, young Tjorven will remind you of Lindgren's beloved Pippi Longstocking, with her direct manner of speaking and her fearless attitude. Recommended for fans of The Penderwicks series.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Hamm

    Marvelous. Full of joy and beautifully written. Lindgren, the Swedish author of Pippi Longstocking, has me wanting more of her clever prose. Her characters are funny, feisty, dreamy, and not without their foibles. In Seacrow Island, Lindgren writes lovingly of the place that was special to her, of how sublime a summer day is there, of the perfections of rocks and wildflowers, pastures and whitebeam trees, stormy skies and the placid sea. But most of all the joy here comes from love of family and Marvelous. Full of joy and beautifully written. Lindgren, the Swedish author of Pippi Longstocking, has me wanting more of her clever prose. Her characters are funny, feisty, dreamy, and not without their foibles. In Seacrow Island, Lindgren writes lovingly of the place that was special to her, of how sublime a summer day is there, of the perfections of rocks and wildflowers, pastures and whitebeam trees, stormy skies and the placid sea. But most of all the joy here comes from love of family and love of home. A children's book that is a balm for world-weariness.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lara

    This book has been my favourite of Astrid Lindgren and I would read it again and again and again. Je ne regrette rien. It basically has everything a good children's book needs: an interesting story, nice and funny characters and for those who like Astrid Lindgren's style of writing, I think it is perfect. :)

  30. 5 out of 5

    M-----l

    Although I've given eleven books a 5-star rating on Goodreads so far this year, Seacrow Island is only the third one that was a legitimate 5-star book (as opposed to just being a 4 and a half rounded up). I'd recommend this title to anyone with a love of animals, nature, adventure, and the preservation of old, beautiful things. Hooray for Bosun!

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