Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
Recommended For: Ages 10 and up (reading and interest level)
When a boat traveling to Australia hits a reef and is destroyed, only one family survives. Shipwrecked on an island, and with no sign of rescue, the family is forced to use whatever means possible to stay alive. Through their struggles, the members of the family learn, not only how to survive, but also how to enjoy themselves in the face of adversity. The father, his wife and four children share many experiences together - both arduous and fun - and grow closer as a result.This classic tale of adventure on a desert island is exciting to read, as much as it is a story with a moral.
I honestly don't know why I like this book so much. When we first read it as a family, I thought it was boring, but a second try when I was older left me liking the book much better, and I've reread it many times since then. It's an "I" book, something I didn't really like when I was younger, but am rather fond of now. One thing I must say, though, is, even though there is nothing even slightly inappropriate, I suggest waiting to let children read it, otherwise they will probably think it boring.
I really like the Christian themes which are present throughout the book. The father is constantly reproving his boys on what they shouldn't do, including needlessly lose their temper and lie, even for a joke. It's teaching different lessons without being preachy, which I really hate in books. The characters aren't perfect, which is a common failing among older books, and is really annoying.
One thing I find interesting is that the family doesn't have a last name. Their name isn't Robinson, the author is just drawing a parallel as to how much they are like Robinson Crusoe. "I", the father, and the mother never get first names, either. They don't need them.
The four boys have distinct personalities: Fritz, the heedless oldest brother who thinks he knows everything, Ernest, the indolent, calm, and smart second-eldest, Jack, the crazy, adventurous, goofy, and good-natured third child, and Franz, the youngest, dumbest, and least developed character.
This book is full of adventures, ingenious inventing, survival, hard work, animals, people, and God. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone.