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Synopsis

The Swiss Family Robinson is a novel by Johann David Wyss about a Swiss family shipwrecked in the East Indies en route to Port Jackson, Australia. The novel opens with the family in the hold of a sailing ship, weathering a great storm. The ship runs aground on a reef, and the family learns the ship's crew has taken to a lifeboat and abandoned them. The ship's cargo of livestock, dogs, guns & powder, carpentry tools, books, and provisions have survived. The family builds a raft, lashes livestock and the most valuable supplies to it, and paddles to the island, where they set up a temporary shelter. Over the next few weeks they make several expeditions back to the ship, to empty its hold, and harvest rigging, planks, and sails. They construct a small homestead on the island. The father and older boys explore the island, discover various plants and animals. They build a large tree house, complete with a library. They also use the carpentry tools and local resources to build mechanical contraptions.

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