On to The Swiss Family Robinson. Believe it or not, I have never seen any movies based on this, or read the book; beyond a family crashing on a remote island and building a treehouse, I knew nothing of the subject. The book was penned in response to the popularity of Robinson Caruso, hence the name; it follows a family of survivors rather than a solitary outcast. Although the family will spend over ten years on the island before a ship encounters them, they’re extraordinarily lucky. Not only were they able to salvage the holdings of a colony ship for their own use, but the “island” they land has such a staggering abundance of improbable life (fauna from other hemispheres, even) that after a while one must conclude it was the private game reserve of some distant millionaire. This south seas island does not merely have the usual suspects like colorful birds, monkeys, and turtles. It has pretty much everything but a moose, and those in the mood for venison can just go after some of the buffalo. The island is similarly well set for fauna and other resources, between the salt caves, the India rubber trees, and the potato fields. Even more lucky for the family, their father is a walking encyclopedia on animals and engineering, so not when he’s not building bridges, winches and the like, he’s telling the children all about the wildlife. It’s very informative, and would be enormously fun to read as a kid, I think, but the amount of creatures running around defies belief.
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