An exciting children’s classic.
Treasure Island follows the journey of Jim Hawkins, a young boy who lives with his mother and father in their inn called Admiral Benbow. With the arrival of Billy Bones, a drunken seaman who becomes a long-term lodger at their inn, Jim’s family becomes ensnared in this man’s past dealings. These dealings have sent him into hiding to avoid a meeting with a one legged man who he fears may obtain his chest that he keeps in his room.
Pirates come to the Admiral Benbow to give Billy Bones his summons, ‘The Black Spot’, and the fright of his life. With pirates scheduled to return to their inn, Jim and his mother open the chest and Jim escapes to Dr. Livesey’s house, where they discover that among Bones’ papers, is a log detailing the treasure that infamous pirate Captain Flint looted during his career, and where it has been buried on a tropical island.
Jim Hawkins narrates the catalogue of adventures and his personal thoughts and feelings on board the Hispaniola and the Treasure Island. Stevenson has created a captivating story with fascinating characters including the enigmatic Long John Silver. The nautical voyage to Treasure Island helped to establish these characters, and it built up the tension and suspense until they arrived at the famous island, which was met by a crescendo of action as they searched for treasure and everyone attempted to stay alive. Flint’s Treasure Island, gives the very essence of a tropical island with buried treasure on. Though only a small book, the details of the island create a visually stimulating effect and we share that experience with Jim as he wanders through the aesthetics of the forest.
Stevenson introduces many ideas that are associated with pirates and are still used today. The idea of a ‘Black Spot’ being given to a pirate to signal a summons that their demands are to be met and if they’re not, then the pirate will suffer the consequences. The using of ‘X’ marks the spot for buried treasure is now globally synonymous and is a well-known trait that is used on treasure maps. The creation of Long John Silver, the swashbuckling pirate is Stevenson’s most memorable characters and one of the most famous pirates.
I will definitely recommend this book to children, as it shows the origin of many traits identified in pirates, and these are shown nowadays in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. Adults should read it as well, because it’s a classic and the storyline made for suspenseful reading and the observation of Jim becoming braver and more independent is fascinating to read.
This children’s book is vastly different to others due to Stevenson’s inclusion of menacing characters, death, fighting and piracy. However, some of the themes that are born out of the nautical voyage and the scenes on Treasure Island are typical in coming-of-age books, they include: bravery, comradeship and doing what is right. The themes are conveyed to a greater extent and they have more life-threatening consequences.