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Jonathan Swift's Gulliver
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Jonathan Swift's Gulliver

5.0 2
by Jonathan Swift, Chris Riddell (Illustrator), Martin Jenkins (Abridged by)

A tour de force of illustration and design, JONATHAN SWIFT'S GULLIVER is a magnificent introduction to one of the most popular stories in the English language.

First published in 1726, Jonathan Swift's classic adventure story has long been a favorite with adults and children alike. This magnificent edition contains all of Gulliver's extraordinary voyages.


A tour de force of illustration and design, JONATHAN SWIFT'S GULLIVER is a magnificent introduction to one of the most popular stories in the English language.

First published in 1726, Jonathan Swift's classic adventure story has long been a favorite with adults and children alike. This magnificent edition contains all of Gulliver's extraordinary voyages. Travel to Lilliput, land of the small, and Brobdingnag, land of giants; to Laputa, where inhabitants need to be hit on the head with sticks to remind them to talk; to Glubbdubdrib, island of ghosts and magicians; and finally, to the kingdom of the Houyhnhnms, where horses rule over humans.

Award-winning author Martin Jenkins has skillfully abridged the original novel, remaining true to its tone and humor while making it accessible to younger readers. He is brilliantly assisted by Kate Greenaway Medalist Chris Riddell, who brings to life the people, creatures, and kingdoms of Swift's searing imagination in wonderful panoramic detail.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Martin Jenkins retells an abridged version of the events in Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift's Gulliver, in an elegant oversize volume, liberally illustrated by Chris Riddell (the Edge Chronicles). Jenkins preserves the conversational tone of Swift's narrator and sticks to the most comical plot points. Riddell's pen-and-ink of Mr. Lemuel Gulliver, tossed off of a lifeboat by gale winds, segues into a wordless full-color spread of the fellow restrained by yards and yards of rope, with which the Lilliputians have tied him down. Other highlights include Gulliver's voyage to Brobdingnag and other points, and then to Houyhnhnms as captain of a merchant ship. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This easy reader condenses Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels into 62 pages. On a voyage in the South Seas, an Englishman finds himself shipwrecked in Lilliput, a land of people only six inches high. Originally held as a prisoner, he eventually is allowed to roam freely and helps the Lilliputians in their war with Blefescu. When he is warned that the Lilliputians are turning on him, Gulliver escapes to Blefescu where he seeks refuge until he is able to embark on his journey home. The text's brevity causes large gaps in the story as well as diminishes the wit and satire of Swift's work. Language is awkward and stilted. Illustrations are likewise stiff and often seem stuck on the page with text below and sometimes above the drawings. This is not a piece of literature that translates well into an easy-to-read, controlled vocabulary text. Why ruin this great story by diluting it? 2003, Usborne, Ages 6 to 8.
— Peg Glisson
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
As noted in the introduction to this adaptation which features the basic story plus background facts and photographs, the story of Lemuel Gulliver and his fascinating world travels has been engaging readers since Jonathan Swift wrote it in 1726. Far from being written as a children's story, the original Gulliver's Travels was a satire of the political leadership and social customs of the time. To help modern readers of all ages understand the satirical side of the story, the DK publishers have produced this version which retells the story in the main text, and, in the margins, explains many story references in notes, pictures, photographs, and diagrams. The technique works, and the explanations embellish rather than intrude on enjoyment of the story. Readers will get to know Gulliver as the braggart he is, while also hanging onto his every word. For those readers who have only met Gulliver through his relationship with the little Lilliputians, there are big surprises here; as he travels to many lands and encounters many cultures and people who are as fanciful as they are memorable. 2000, Dorling Kindersley Publishing, Ages 10 up, $14.95. Reviewer: Judy Katsh—Children's Literature
School Library Journal
Gr 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 Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Presents the complete text of Gulliver's Travels, with five critical essays from theoretical perspectives such as feminism, the new historicism, deconstructionism, and psychoanalytic criticism. Features an introduction providing biographical and historical contexts for Swift's novel, and introductions to the history, principles, and practice of each critical perspective represented. Includes a survey of critical responses to the novel, and a glossary of critical and theoretical terms. No index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
A handsomely packaged alternative for readers not quite up for the original, this abridgement pairs a toned-down, quicker-moving but otherwise substantially intact version of Gulliver's four voyages with a generous array of vignettes, larger drawings and paintings-all featuring craggy-featured, elaborately clad (except, of course, for the dignified Houyhnhnms and capering but discreetly posed Yahoos) grotesques in extravagantly detailed settings. Along with providing a better showcase for Riddell's distinctive talents than the cramped pages of Paul Stewart's Edge Chronicles, this makes a timely and enticing replacement for James Riordan's partial retelling, illustrated in a lighter, though less sophisticated, vein by Victor G. Ambrus (1992). (Fiction. 10-13)

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
11.38(w) x 9.75(h) x 0.74(d)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Read an Excerpt

When I awoke, it was just daylight. I was lying on my back and tried to sit up, only to find that I was stuck fast. I could not even move my head. It seemed that I was tied to the ground by hundreds of pieces of string.

Eventually, as the sun was becoming uncomfortably bright and hot, I felt a living thing move up my left leg and onto my body, closely followed by about forty more. The first creature, whatever it was, came to a halt just under my chin, and by peering downward, I found I could just make it out. To my astonishment, what did

I see but a miniature human no bigger than my hand, equipped with bow and arrow! In my amazement, I let out a loud roar, and all the creatures turned and fled back down my body, some of them falling off in their hurry to get away. They were soon back, however.

Struggling to get loose,

I finally managed to free my left arm and, by pulling violently, loosened the threads tying my hair down, so that I could turn my head a little. I tried to grab a handful of the tiny men, but they scurried off again, all yelling at once. Then one of them cried, "Tolgo phonac," and I was instantly bombarded with hundreds of minute arrows, which pricked me like so many needles and hurt terribly.

JONATHAN SWIFT'S GULLIVER abridged by Martin Jenkins. Abridgment copyright (c) 2005 by Martin Jenkins. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

What People are Saying About This

George Orwell
If I had to make a list of six books which were to be preserved when all others were destroyed, I would certainly put Gulliver's Travels among them.

Meet the Author

Martin Jenkins is the author of many acclaimed books for children, including GRANDMA ELEPHANT'S IN CHARGE, THE EMPEROR'S EGG, and CHAMELEONS ARE COOL. A lifelong fan of Jonathan Swift, Martin Jenkins lives in Cambridge, England.

Chris Riddell, author, illustrator, and political cartoonist for THE OBSERVER, has won several awards for his work, including a Smarties Silver Honor and the Kate Greenaway Medal for his acclaimed nonfiction book PIRATE DIARY. He lives in Brighton, England.

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Jonathan Swift's Gulliver 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
kennyWA More than 1 year ago
a very nice illustrated book. really nice
Guest More than 1 year ago
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