Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Publisher: Scholastic Apple paperback
Number of pages: 223
The story is told in the first person by
Jim Hawkins, whose mother kept the Admiral Benbow Inn, and who
shared in the adventures from start to finish. An old sea dog
comes to this peaceful inn one day, apparently intending to
finish his life there. He hires Jim to keep a watch out for
other sailors, but despite all precautions, he is hunted out
and served with the black spot that means death. Jim and his
mother barely escape death when Blind Pew, Black Dog, and
other pirates descend on the inn in search of the sea dog’s
papers. Jim snatches up a packet of papers to square the
sailor’s debt, when they were forced to retreat from the inn.
The packet contains a map showing the location of the pirate
Flint’s buried treasure, which Jim, Doctor Livesey, and Squire
Trelawney determine to find. Fitting out a ship, they hire
hands and set out on their adventure. Unfortunately, their
crew includes one-legged Long John Silver, a pirate also in
search of the treasure, and a number of his confederates. Jim,
hidden in an apple barrel, overhears the plans of the crew to
mutiny, and he warns his comrades. The battle between the
pirates and Jim’s party is an exciting and bloody one, taking
place both on the island and aboard ship. Jim escapes from the
ship, discovers the marooned sailor, Ben Gunn, who has already
found and cached the treasure, and finally the victors get
safely aboard the ship with the treasure.
- The plot is excellent. The adventures of Jim Hawkins are
filled with suspense. This is one of the best books ever
written for children. It will appeal especially to boys but
can be read by girls.
- The characters are not stereotyped and unrealistic, but
are so skillfully portrayed that they live for us in our
imagination. Who can forget Long John Silver, the pirates of
pirates? Terrifying, yet somehow likeable; cruel, yet
somehow kind. As John Senior says "The one-legged pirate
with a patch on an eye and parrot on his shoulder is one of
the half-dozen great creations. Like Don Quixote of the Wyf
of Bath, he is fixed in our brains forever. How much we
would give even now to find that map and go with him!"
- A reason for reading is learning to write. Stevenson is
a master craftsman. His prose is classic, clear, and
rhythmical. While the children only think about enjoying a
great story, unbeknownst to themselves, they are being
exposed to fine language.
- Teasure Island, unlike other children’s stories,
includes some characters who are not examples of virtue but
on the contrary lead sinful lives. However, this is normal
since they are pirates and it is what you expect of them.
They are the villains of the story and their evil ways are
not condoned. Pirates are, as Jim says, "some of the
wickedest men that God ever allowed upon the sea." Jim
Hawkins, Squire Trelawney and Dr. Livesey are on the
contrary characters who, throughout their adventures, show
virtues like courage and honesty.
- There are many words which need to be explained.
Examples: tarry, coltish, bleared, tallowy, etc.
"Every time I start this book again, the old awe comes
over me, and I think ‘This is the best!’" (John Senior)
Hopefully children who have enjoyed Treasure Island
will want to read other books by Robert Louis Stevenson like
Kidnapped and The Black Arrow.