Cover image for Kidnapped
Title:
Kidnapped
Author:
Stevenson, Robert Louis, 1850-1894.
Publication Information:
New York : Knopf : Distributed by Random House, [1994]

©1994
Physical Description:
319 pages : color illustrations ; 22 cm.
Summary:
After being kidnapped by his villainous uncle, sixteen-year-old David Balfour escapes and becomes involved in the struggle of the Scottish highlanders against English rule.
Language:
English
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 7.6 14.0 512.
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780679436386
Format :
Book

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Material Type
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East Aurora Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
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Grand Island Library1On Order

Summary

Summary

Seventeen-year-old David Balfour's villainous uncle has him kidnapped in order to steal his inheritance. David escapes only to fall into the dangerous company of rebels who are resisting British redcoats in the Scottish highlands.


Author Notes

Novelist, poet, and essayist Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. A sickly child, Stevenson was an invalid for part of his childhood and remained in ill health throughout his life. He began studying engineering at Edinburgh University but soon switched to law. His true inclination, however, was for writing. For several years after completing his studies, Stevenson traveled on the Continent, gathering ideas for his writing. His Inland Voyage (1878) and Travels with a Donkey (1878) describe some of his experiences there. A variety of essays and short stories followed, most of which were published in magazines. It was with the publication of Treasure Island in 1883, however, that Stevenson achieved wide recognition and fame. This was followed by his most successful adventure story, Kidnapped, which appeared in 1886.

With stories such as Treasure Island and Kidnapped, Stevenson revived Daniel Defoe's novel of romantic adventure, adding to it psychological analysis. While these stories and others, such as David Balfour and The Master of Ballantrae (1889), are stories of adventure, they are at the same time fine studies of character. The Master of Ballantrae, in particular, is a study of evil character, and this study is taken even further in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886).

In 1887 Stevenson and his wife, Fanny, went to the United States, first to the health spas of Saranac Lake, New York, and then on to the West Coast. From there they set out for the South Seas in 1889. Except for one trip to Sidney, Australia, Stevenson spent the remainder of his life on the island of Samoa with his devoted wife and stepson. While there he wrote The Wrecker (1892), Island Nights Entertainments (1893), and Catriona (1893), a sequel to Kidnapped. He also worked on St. Ives and The Weir of Hermiston, which many consider to be his masterpiece. He died suddenly of apoplexy, leaving both of these works unfinished. Both were published posthumously; St. Ives was completed by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, and The Weir of Hermiston was published unfinished. Stevenson was buried on Samoa, an island he had come to love very much.

Although Stevenson's novels are perhaps more accomplished, his short stories are also vivid and memorable. All show his power of invention, his command of the macabre and the eerie, and the psychological depth of his characterization.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In 1751, after the untimely deaths of his parents, Scotsman David Balfour, the 17-year-old protagonist and narrator of Stevenson's classic adventure yarn, travels to his father's childhood home to meet with his uncle, Ebenezer. Instead of a warm welcome, Ebenezer pays the captain of a pirate ship to kidnap his nephew and transport him to America. On board, David meets dashing Highlander Alan Breck Stewart, and together they manage to take over the ship, beginning a friendship that continues through several land-based adventures. One of these involves witness (and escaping blame for) a murder. Scottish actor Rintoul does an amazing job of delivering a bouquet of brogues-including David's mild-mannered narration, his uncle's croaky, angry snarl, and Alan Stewart's almost musical, supremely confident pronouncements. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal Review

Gr 4 Up-Both volumes begin with a spread featuring a quote from the original text. Characters are introduced on the following page, though many lack any useful context and some are very minor. The design is tidy, with ample white space. Quick paced by necessity, each story progresses in short two-page episodes, helped along by a few sentences of narration under each frame. Detailed illustrations in muted colors work with the stormy, furtive story in Kidnapped and the dim underground setting of Journey. Dramatic, action-filled scenes and highly expressive faces catch readers' eyes and pull them into the stories. The footnotes provided are useful for understanding the smattering of dialect, and a map shows the protagonist's travels. Each volume also includes a biographical sketch about the author, a chronology, articles providing context for the story, and a description of how the book has been received over time. Though perhaps less successful than The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Moby Dick (both Barron's, 2007), each book would serve as an attractive introduction to either Stevenson or Verne. Useful for libraries where these novels are taught or for schools building graphic-novel collections.-Neala Arnold, St. Francis Elementary School, MN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Introduction by Margot Livesey I. When I was growing up in Scotland, Robert Louis Stevenson was the first author whom I knew by name, and he remains the only one whom I can truthfully claim to have been reading all my life. From an early age, my parents read to me from A Child's Garden of Verses , and I soon learned some of the poems by heart. I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me, And what can be the use of him is more than I can see. Perhaps I recognized, even then, Stevenson's unique gift for keeping a foot in two camps. While the poems vividly captured my childish concerns, somewhere in the margins shimmered the mystery of adult life. A few years later Kidnapped was the first chapter book I read, and I can still picture the maroon binding and the black-and-white drawings that illustrated David Balfour's adventures. At the age of seven, a book without pictures would have been out of the question, but, in fact, they turned out to be superfluous. I could imagine everything that happened just from the words on the page, although I must admit to the small advantage that the view from my bedroom window--bare hills, rocks, heather--was very much like the landscape of Kidnapped . At first glance such early acquaintance might seem like a good omen for an author's reputation. In actuality, that Stevenson is so widely read by children has tended to make him seem like an author from who, as adults, we have little to learn. It is worth noting that his contemporaries would not have shared this prejudice. Nineteenth-century readers did not regard children's books as separate species. Stevenson's own father often reread The Parent's Assistant, a volume of children's stories, and Leslie Stephen, Virginia Woolf's father, writes of staying up late to finish Treasure Island . Like the shadow of his poem, Stevenson's reputation has waxed and waned at an alarming rate. He died in a blaze of hagiography, which perhaps in part explains the fury of later critics. F.R. Leavis in The Great Tradition dismisses Stevenson (in a footnote, no less) as a romantic writer, guilty of fine writing, and in general Stevenson has not fared as well as his friend Henry James. People comment with amazement that Borges and Nabokov praised his novels. Still, his best work has remained in print for over a hundred years, and his is among that small group of authors to have given a phrase to the language: Jekyll and Hyde. Besides our perception of Stevenson as a children's author, two other factors may have contributed to his ambiguous reputation. Although his list of publications is much longer than most people realize--he wrote journalism and travel pieces for money--he failed to produce a recognizable oeuvre, a group of works that stand together, each resonating with the others. In addition, the pendulum of literary taste has swung in a direction that Stevenson disliked and was determined to avoid: namely, pessimism. After reading The Portrait of a Lady he wrote to James begging him to write no more such books, and while he admired the early work of Thomas Hardy, he hated the darker Tess of the d'Urbervilles. The English writer John Galsworthy commented memorably on this aspect of Stevenson when he said that the superiority of Stevenson over Hardy was that Stevenson was all life, while Hardy was all death. From the Trade Paperback edition. Excerpted from Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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