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

4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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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: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,399,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback
Will the real Gulliver please stand up?

Is it an authentic Gulliver experience to read the children's picture book?

Or is it a more genuine experience to read it, unedited, without pictures, on a Kindle?

I read both this week. I liked the children's version better. The pictures were fun and the edited text included the best of the original and omitted the extraneous material that seemed irrelevant to the heart of the book. I'm happy I read the original as well as the edited version. I can see the appeal of this book for readers. Funny. Thoughtful. Gulliver visits places in the world that make his entire worldview shift and crumble and, finally, evolve. A wonderful book. Or books.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a terrific distillation of the book, and the illustrations are so evocative that they help one remember the narrative in order, which can be tricky when you're reading some literary version with tiny type and no illustrations or dull pencil ones.
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