Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Treasure Island

By Robert Louis Stevenson

I have been reading the adventures of young Jim Hawkins aboard the Hispaniola, and on Treasure Island, to the boys at bedtime. It's the classic tale of pirates and buried treasure, with the terrifying Captain Flint, and the treacherous Long John Silver.

It was Long John Silver who gave me problems. I've mentioned a few times in the past how reading books aloud to the kids can be a pleasure, with words rolling off the tongue, as was the case with The Hobbit, by J.R.R.Tolkien, or a horror, as in Famous Five by Enid Blyton, where the words clomped and thudded and tripped me up. I hate to say it, but Treasure Island was another horror, in particular, any dialogue by Long John Silver. I just couldn't get his lingo, and in the end kind of prattled any old thing that got the general meaning across. I have read a number of blog posts about dialect in dialogue, or accents or colloquial language, and how it can be a double edged sword, well, in this case, it was the death of me. Can't say I enjoyed it. I don't think they did either.

So far we're loving the first few chapters of the next book on the bedtime story list - Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief, by Rick Riordan. This one rolls off the tongue beautifully, and is providing lots of laugh out loud moments for the little fellas, which is music to a mum's ears.


Pen said...

I admit I've never finished reading Treasure Island - though I've started it at least twice.
We have the Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief movie, which is a fun watch. I'll have to look up the book. Thanks for the recommend.

Anonymous said...

Vanda - Treasure Island really is a classic, but yes, I can certainly see how the dialogue and dialect got to you. As a linguist, I find dialogue and language fascinating. As a reader, it can be a challenge.

Dorte H said...

Interesting point. I read Treasure Island in Danish when I was a young teenager, and I liked it a lot. But then you cannot really render dialect in Danish. It may be a good thing in this case, but I can assure you that Peter Temple loses a lot of flavour when you read his books in Danish.

J.T. Webster said...

I read Treasure Island to my lot a couple of years ago and quite frankly there were words - or should I say sounds - that came off the tongue and I till don't know what they meant! But somehow we still managed to enjoy the excitement and adventure of the story.

Lots of brownie points for reading a a classic to the little ones.

Eni said...

I am glad that you mention Treasure island by Robert Louis Stevenson i.e. on eof the most interesting children's books. There is no doubt that Enid Blyton, whom you mention, may have in part been inspired by this book when he wrote the first Famous Five book, Five On A Treasure Island. Talking of Enid Blyton, I am glad to inform you that I have written and published a book on her, titled, The Famous Five: A Personal Anecdotage (
Stephen Isabirye