Reviews provided by Syndetics
School Library Journal Review
Gr 7 Up-Jonathan Swift's satirical novel was first published in 1726, yet it is still valid today. Gulliver's Travels describes the four fantastic voyages of Lemuel Gulliver, a kindly ship's surgeon. Swift portrays him as an observer, a reporter, and a victim of circumstance. His travels take him to Lilliput where he is a giant observing tiny people. In Brobdingnag, the tables are reversed and he is the tiny person in a land of giants where he is exhibited as a curiosity at markets and fairs. The flying island of Laputa is the scene of his next voyage. The people plan and plot as their country lies in ruins. It is a world of illusion and distorted values. The fourth and final voyage takes him to the home of the Houyhnhnms, gentle horses who rule the land. He also encounters Yahoos, filthy bestial creatures who resemble humans. The story is read by British actor Martin Shaw with impeccable diction and clarity and great inflection. If broken into short listening segments, the tapes are an excellent tool for presenting an abridged version of Gulliver's Travels.-Jean Deck, Lambuth University, Jackson, TN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This latest addition to the Cambridge series of Swift's work is an exhaustive piece of scholarship. Womersley (Univ. of Oxford, UK) has carefully prepared an edition of Gulliver's Travels that takes into account the many editions published in Swift's lifetime as well as textual history and critical reception. Womersley provides notes and commentary that open up the meaning of the text and offer insights into an 18th-century worldview. His choice of ancillary matter supports scholarly inquiry with chronologies that locate the work in both English and world history. The apparatus--especially the introduction, long notes, and passages from Swift's correspondence--provides focused access to this singular work of fiction. Appendixes, illustrations, a select bibliography, and a user-friendly index complete the volume. This edition of Swift's masterwork will be of great benefit to serious readers of Swift and to specialists in 18th-century literature. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty. M. H. Kealy Immaculata University
Gr. 5-7. Focusing on the two adventures of Gulliver that have always appealed to children--the story of Lilliput, where the human is a giant among dwarves; and the story of Brobdingnag, where the human is a dwarf among giants--Riordan and Ambrus have adapted Swift's satiric ~fantasy into a romp for young readers. The play with size and perspective makes for vastly entertaining stories and pictures. Right at the start we see, stretched across two pages, the eighteenth-century gentleman tied firmly with ropes while at least 40 tiny men run all over him and attack him with bows and arrows that feel like sharp needles. His handkerchief is a carpet large enough to cover the state room at the palace; when he's freed, he has 300 cooks to prepare his food. The opposite happens in Brobdingnag, where the lice are the size of pigs rooting in the mud, Gulliver is horrified to see people as though through a magnifying glass ("It made me realize how ugly people are, with spots, pimples, and freckles that normally the eye does not see"), and the noise of a palace concert nearly deafens him. Particularly in Brobdingnag, Riordan keeps some of the sharpness of Swift, but Ambrus' sunny watercolor-and-ink illustrations are a bright counterpoint, mischievous more than grotesque, with lots of smiling, energetic creatures of all sizes staring at each other in amazement. ~--Hazel Rochman
Horn Book Review
Jonathan Swift's adult satire loses some of its sharp edge in an adaptation that lends the tale accessibility for a younger audience. Earthy watercolor and black-and-white drawings capture the spirit of Gulliver's adventures. From HORN BOOK 1992, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
Swift's account of Gulliver's captivity in Lilliput and Brobdingnag is considerably shortened and rephrased here, but Riordan expertly preserves the flavor of the original: upon reaching the temple where he is to stay, the intrepid traveler shamefacedly relieves himself before the tiny multitudes (though the more famous scene where he similarly puts out a palace fire is absent); later, he survives plenty of harrowing adventures, admiringly describing the societies in which he's stranded while taking subtle pokes (and not-so-subtle--``Englishmen are the nastiest race of odious little vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth,'' says the king of Brobdingnag) at his own, and at fashion and politics in general. Large or small, Gulliver cuts a heroic figure in Ambrus's pervasive, free-wheeling illustrations; other characters have exaggerated features and a comic air that lighten the satire and serves the narrative well. Swift's ax-grinding can be indigestible in large doses; like other abridged classics from this publisher and illustrator, a palatable, well-blended appetizer. (Fiction. 12-14)