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Jonathan Swift's Gulliver (Candlewick Illustrated Classics) Hardcover – February 3, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3 Up–Jenkins has done an admirable job of adapting a classic work of literature to make it more accessible to contemporary readers. The major events of Gulliver's travels are recounted here, but the language has been simplified and updated. The lengthier descriptive passages have been eliminated, as have some of the complex political discussions. The adaptation is not as dark as the original; for example, in this conclusion, Gulliver is not completely repulsed by his wife and family. Despite these changes, this retelling retains the essence of the original work, primarily due to the careful choice of details and scenes portrayed. The streamlined story remains a lively adventure filled with bizarre and entertaining characters. Swift's satirical humor and irony are still evident, as are his political and humanitarian messages. Ridell's energetic illustrations provide the perfect complement to the multidimensional story; black-and-white drawings and colorful line-and-wash paintings enliven almost every spread. Humorous details, vivid facial expressions, and exaggerated perspectives and proportions visually project the tale's sense of adventure. While there is no substitute for the original, this is a satisfying first visit to the lands of Gulliver's travels. Ann Keay Beneduce's Gulliver's Adventures in Lilliput (Putnam, 1996) includes just one of Gulliver's trips and contains none of the ironic humor found here. The version adapted by James Dunbar (DK, 2000) is not as well written or as visually appealing as this edition but is worthwhile for the background information it provides.–Heide Piehler, Shorewood Public Library, WI

From Booklist

Gr. 5-8. Riddell, a British artist and Kate Greenaway medalist, gives Jonathan Swift's venerable classic a brand new look in this beautifully illustrated book. The text also gets an overhaul in Jenkins' nicely realized adaptation, which manages to retain the flavor of the original without the antique locutions and satirical references that may baffle the contemporary young readers. From its first publication, in 1726, Gulliver has been a bit schizophrenic--at once a savagely sophisticated satire and an extravagantly imagined adventure. This edition, with its lavish 11-by-9 1/2-inch trim size and witty, beautiful illustrations that spill across the gutter to fill a page-and-a-half, favors the latter. Even those who dislike adaptations of classics will find much to admire and enjoy here. Michael Cart
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Series: Candlewick Illustrated Classics
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (February 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763624098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763624095
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 0.7 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,250,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
When most of us hear the name "Gulliver," a picture probably comes to mind. A giant. A strong, brawny fellow? Leave it to consummate illustrator Chris Riddell to give us a smile provoking Gulliver with knobby knees, a bump in his nose, and shirt askew. Gulliver is still prone to many adventures, just as Jonathan Swift intended when he wrote "Gulliver's Travels," but he's also a tad clumsy with a tendency to wind up in comical positions.

There he is in Lilliput on the first of his voyages skewered into the sand by all those little people. In this double-page full-color spread every bony finger is pinioned, his waistcoat is tacked to the ground, and one big toe pops through a hole in his sock. Next, we find tiny spear bearing soldiers marching across the length of his body.

Consider Gulliver's voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Glubbdubrib, and Japan. If you recall, the ship he was aboard is taken over by not one but two pirate ships. Such ferocious buccaneers you've never seen. Thankfully the Dutch pirate captain showed our hero a little sympathy, and we find him tucked into a small canoe and set afloat.

Each of Riddell's illustrations is a gem, and will surely be enjoyed over and over again. He is a political cartoonist for the Observer, thus the perfect choice to bring Swift's political satire to life.

Martin Jenkins has done a yeoman's job of retelling this classic. His adaptation is true to Swift's original story yet it is more easily understood by young readers. While this Gulliver will hold appeal for all ages, it is certainly a choice introduction to what is considered to be one of the finest stories ever written. Kudos to both Martin Jenkins and Chris Riddell with, of course, a deep bow to the memory of the incomparable Jonathan Swift

- Gail Cooke
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Connie P. Aizeki on March 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is really a beautiful book. The illustrations are quirky and captivating and the language, while not antiquated, still reads like a classic. I sat reading it to my 7 year old son in the bookstore for a good 15 minutes before realizing we just had to take it home. Originally a story which my son would have had to wait until at least junior high to read, this version sits up on the shelf next to Doctor Dolittle, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland etc. The fantasy is emphasized but the political satire is gently present for those old enough to appreciate it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Irina Hynes on March 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gulliver's adventures to imaginary lands are used to illustrate the foibles and pettiness of mankind. In his first adventure, he finds that the tiny Lilliputians are forever at war with their island neighbors over how to crack open an egg, and they are therefore suspicious and manipulative. By contrast, the giants of Brobdingnag live by "common sense, reason, justice and fair play," but Gulliver is often in danger by being so tiny in their country. In other lands, Gulliver meets all kinds of characters - constant worriers, crazed inventors, preposterous rulers, and some chatty ghosts who give him a history lesson. With each adventure, Gulliver becomes increasingly aware that the beliefs he holds about mankind's achievements may be the opposite of what he had thought. Finally, he meets the horse-like Houyhnhnms (sounds like a horse neighing), "noble creatures ruled entirely by reason," who have no idea of evil. Their country is also inhabited by Yahoos, wild animal-like humans without any redeeming qualities, who steal from each other and squabble endlessly. Gulliver is so taken by the civilized, virtuous Houyhnhnms that he would like to live happily ever after with them, but they can't get over the fact that he really must be a Yahoo, who will only encourage the other Yahoos to revolt against them. He is cast adrift in a small boat and eventually finds himself back in England, where he has to get used to lying, deceit, self-importance, and greed once more. Some of the story elements are a little disturbing, such as his attitudes towards the servant classes, and some of the outrageous behaviors of certain characters verge on disgusting, but this is always used to make a point. Overall, this is a beautifully-made book with much food for thought, for both young and old alike.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nicola Mansfield on February 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
Reason for Reading: Read aloud to my son.

I've been looking for a *good* children's version of Gulliver's Travels for many years and have finally found the perfect version that I will recommend to anyone wanting to read this book for enjoyment. I love Gulliver's Travels; it is a wonderful story *but* I do not like the original version. Yes, I've read the original book, start to finish. Now I'm usually all about reading the original versions of classics but Gulliver is different. First of all Swift's Gulliver is not a children's story; it is political and social satire of the 1700s. It is full of references to personages and politics of the 1700s that have no meaning whatsoever to the 21st century reader unless of course you have studied the 1700s political scene yourself. The original is full of long, dreary passages that may have been hysterical in 1726 but are just completely long-winded and boring for the typical modern day reader and really there is no point in subjecting a child to it. This is why most children's versions only include the first two chapters: the voyages to the land of the little people and then the land of the giants. But the last two voyages are wonderful as well and I've been looking for a version of this book, that removes the outdated prattle but keeps the complete 4 chapters. This book has done so; plus adds illustrations by the comedic artist Chris Riddell and we have a winner of a book.

This version of Gulliver is not missing any details or plot lines, all voyages are covered. Now it has been some time since I read the original, but as far as I can tell the "rude" bits have been left alone as well.
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