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    Them that die'll be the lucky ones.
        -Treasure Island

The last few pirate movies (Hook and Cutthroat Island among them) have bombed so disastrously at the box office that it's hard to tell whether it was simply because they weren't very good or whether kids have abandoned the genre.  I certainly hope it's the former, I'd hate to think that kids today are missing out on all the great pirate tales that we used to thrill too.  Foremost of these was, of course, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

I may well be wrong here, but it seems to me that Stevenson pioneered one of the central techniques of children's literature ; placing a child at the center of what might otherwise be a typical adult adventure novel.  This simple but ingenious idea gives kids a character to identify with and allows the author to write from the child's perspective.

In the case of Treasure Island, young Jim Hawkins narrates the story of how he and Squire Trelawney, Dr. Livesey, and the enigmatic Long John Silver ended up on board the Hispaniola, looking for the lost treasure of the notorious pirate Captain John Flint.  Packed with betrayals, battles, mutinies, and even a parrot squawking "Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!", the book is the source for many of the enduring and beloved clichés of the genre.

This is a classic that each generation should discover anew.  Heck, if enough kids start reading it again, maybe Hollywood will even take another crack at a pirate movie, this time a decent one.


Grade: (A+)


See also:

Sea Stories
Book-related and General Links:
    -ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA : stevenson, robert louis
    -ETEXTS : Robert Louis Stevenson (Bibliomania)
    -ETEXT : Treasure Island (Literature Project)
    -The Robert Louis Stevenson Club (Edinburgh)
    -The Robert Louis Stevenson Web Site ( Richard Dury, Università di Bergam)
    -Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894 (Thomas Cooper Library, University of South Carolina)
    -ESSAY : The story of Dr Jekyll, Mr Hyde and Fanny, the angry wife who burned the first draft (John Ezard, October 25, 2000, The Guardian )
    -ARCHIVES : Robert Louis Stevenson (Find Articles)
    -ARCHIVES : Robert Louis Stevenson (Mag Portal)
    -Treasure Island (Connecting Students)
    -Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island Online (Fern Canyon Press)
    -Treasure Island Web Site
    -STUDY GUIDE : TREASURE ISLAND  by Robert Louis Stevenson (Dreamcatchers)
    -ClassicNotes: Treasure Island
    -LINKS : Stevenson, Robert Louis : 13 November 1850 - 3 December 1894 (Lit Gothic)
    -REVIEW : of The Life of Robert Louis Stevenson. By  GRAHAM BALFOUR (1901) (Bradford Torrey, June 1902, Atlantic Monthly)
    -REVIEW : of Louis: A Life of Robert Louis Stevenson by Philip Callow (Jonathan Bate, booksonline)
    -REVIEW : of  Louis: A Life of Robert Louis Stevenson by Philip Callow (MALINDA NASH, Houston Chronicle)
    -REVIEW : of Louis: A Life of Robert Louis Stevenson by Philip Callow (Elizabeth Routen, Critique)
    -REVIEW : of The Lighthouse Stevensons by Bella Bathurst (Richard Cook, The Guardian)

    -FILMOGRAPHY : Robert Louis Stevenson (
    -INFO : Treasure Island (1934) (
    -REVIEW : of The Suicide Club (Game of Death) (Peter Stack, SF Chronicle)

Recommended books by Robert Louis Stevenson :
    -Treasure Island (1881)
    -Kidnapped (1886)
    -Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886)
    -The Master of Ballantrae (1889)