January 29, 2011

Book Log: The Swiss Family Robinson

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss

33-1First copyright in 1949, this title is well known.  I suspect it is often confused with treasure island. That was my error.

The Swiss Family Robinson is about a Christian family who is shipwrecked on a tropical island.  They are very resourceful.  They make shelters and tools and tame and raise animals.  This story is basically the Father’s journaling of their daily activities.

They regularly come across new animals and each time seem to capture one to tame. They’ve come across all sorts of birds including black swans, flamingos and pigeons and even and ostrich.  They’ve found monkeys, jackal, pigs, buffalo, horses, donkeys, lions and more.  In addition to all their animal discoveries.  They are quite resourceful with the plant life. 

They find plants that can make a rubbery substance to coat their shoes and clothes making them waterproof, plants that are full of fibers used as thread, and various other properties. I will admit that I would like to research the plants mentioned to see if they really do have these properties.  If the ideas presented are based on truth, this would be a good survivalist book. 

Their survival insists on their hunting for food, but there are times when it is quite disturbing, like when they kill a whole group of monkeys and the bodies have to be thrown into a pit.

They spend over ten years on the island without contact from the outside world. Eventually, a ship comes to their island and they must choose whether to stay or return to a world they once knew.

We enjoyed this as a read-aloud for the most part, but some parts seemed to just drag on.


  1. We are reading this book too! I think I like it better then the kids are.

  2. My children love this movie too!! What a classic, very wholesome!!

  3. We did this as a read aloud for the kids several years ago and they loved it. As you said, there were parts that dragged on (especially near the end), but being able to put your knowledge to use to be able to survive. How great is that?

    Also, perhaps you were just referring to your version, but this book was first published in 1812! It was written by a Swiss pastor and has been translated many times.


  4. I hated the monkey massacre personally.


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