The Last of the Gullivers

The Last of the Gullivers

by Carter Crocker, Jonathan Swift
     
 

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A stunning sequel to a storytelling classic, with a contemporary twist

Michael Pine is a boy with no direction in life. Mixed up in gangs, he is headed straight for a juvenile detention center. Until he is given a second chance and discovers a world beyond his imagination. A world of Lilliputians - people the mere size of a thumb. But this is a world in terrible

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Overview

A stunning sequel to a storytelling classic, with a contemporary twist

Michael Pine is a boy with no direction in life. Mixed up in gangs, he is headed straight for a juvenile detention center. Until he is given a second chance and discovers a world beyond his imagination. A world of Lilliputians - people the mere size of a thumb. But this is a world in terrible danger, and they need Michael's help. But Michael has some trouble of his own - he's been framed for theft and it appears his second chance is about to expire. He needs to do what he can to save the Lilliputians from certain death. But how can he save them if he's locked up for a crime he didn't commit?

Using elements of the original Gulliver's Travels, Carter Crocker has created an exciting and enchanting story perfect for kids today.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The wind has been blowing as long as anyone can remember in Moss-on-Stone. Orphaned Michael Pine is 12 years old, directionless, and vulnerable to the demands of the local gang leader. “It’s your time, Michael,” Nick says, unknowingly communicating a greater fate than either boy could possibly imagine. When Michael discovers a village of little people (Lilliputians) living behind crazy old Lemuel Gulliver’s cottage, his purpose in life becomes clear–he must protect these small folk from the dangers of the outside world. This becomes more challenging after Lemuel leaves to reunite with an old flame and Michael is framed for theft at the market where he works. He recruits his new friend Jane, a parochial-school girl looking to break free from her father’s vigilant eye, to assist him. On the one hand, this follow-up to Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels serves as a fantasy adventure with a fresh, relatable protagonist to those unfamiliar with the classic. On the other hand, it’s a smart, sophisticated nod to Swift’s satirical original. Using the omniscient third-person point of view, Crocker develops Michael’s character through the boy’s actions and dialogue as well as the observations of others. With a deft hand, he shows readers that Michael is not as lost as he is believed to be, and that perhaps it’s the leaders of the villages–both big and small–who should be concerned about the way their lives are blowing. Timely.–Alison O’Reilly, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, NY

Michael is small for 12, and he is headed for trouble: no dreams, no drive, and Nick’s Boys want him to

become a more permanent fixture in their gang. So in a way, his encounter with trouble and the resulting

required community-service job do Michael a huge favor. He is brought into contact with old Lemuel

Gulliver, living on the outskirts of town and guarding nearly 200 Lilliputians living behind his stone wall.

Michael is enchanted by their cleverness and determination, and when Lemuel leaves to pursue his own

dream, the boy must make some hard choices in order to do what is best for the little people. This is a

beautifully realized novel, brimming with hope and sparkling with magic in many forms. Characters (of all

sizes) are fully orbed, and the setting so vivid you can smell the clover and hear the music, even while it

resides uneasily next to our world of unkindness and violence. With a respectful nod to Swift’s

imagination, the pleasing resolution manages to satisfy without compromising.

— Melissa Moore

Twelve-year-old Michael is headed for a life of gangs and thuggery until a dust-up with the law brings him to the backyard of one Lemuel Gulliver; there a miniature town and its pint-sized residents give Michael’s life new direction. Gulliver introduces Michael to the Lesser Lilliputians as their next guardian, and the young boy takes to his new duties with enthusiasm, repairing fire-damaged buildings, helping the residents construct a new town center, and fending off the latest invasion of weasels. When Gulliver takes off, however, Michael’s old gang life catches up with him and he finds himself in juvenile hall, leaving the little people vulnerable to murderous rodents and scheming gang members. Specific knowledge of Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels isn’t necessary, but readers will need some pretty sophisticated sensibilities to get Crocker’s adult-oriented humor, including allusions to grand poobahs and macguffins; indeed, most of the satirical elements of the Lilliputians’ society have the potential to fly over the heads of the book’s target audience. Michael’s story, however, works well as a tale of redemption, and his transformation from a lost and neglected nobody to a thoughtful, devoted caretaker of an entire village is heartwarming.

The slew of action in the last thirty pages or so helps compensate for a slow start, so readers who stick it out will be duly rewarded by an exciting chase and a happy ending. KQG

Children's Literature - Annie Laura Smith
This story is a contemporary follow-up to the classic Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift that captivated generations of young readers. When the Lilliputians from this classic enter the troubled life of twelve-year-old Michael Pine, these Little People truly become his salvation. Michael's attempt to escape from the related gang activities as he does his community service is a driving force in the story. His efforts to aid the threatened Lilliputians also help him to save himself. Michael's actions show his character development well as he copes with the events swirling around him. The satirical elements of the Lilliputians' society (i.e. the Little People's useless war) may be lost on young readers since they would probably not relate these elements to a contemporary adult society. It is still, however, a very engaging and creative story with many other elements that will enchant young readers. Some knowledge of Gulliver's Travels would provide important background information and insight when reading this novel. This information would clarify the establishment of the world of the Lilliputians as stated in the letter from 1725. Reviewer: Annie Laura Smith
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—The wind has been blowing as long as anyone can remember in Moss-on-Stone. Orphaned Michael Pine is 12 years old, directionless, and vulnerable to the demands of the local gang leader. "It's your time, Michael," Nick says, unknowingly communicating a greater fate than either boy could possibly imagine. When Michael discovers a village of little people (Lilliputians) living behind crazy old Lemuel Gulliver's cottage, his purpose in life becomes clear—he must protect these small folk from the dangers of the outside world. This becomes more challenging after Lemuel leaves to reunite with an old flame and Michael is framed for theft at the market where he works. He recruits his new friend Jane, a parochial-school girl looking to break free from her father's vigilant eye, to assist him. On the one hand, this follow-up to Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels serves as a fantasy adventure with a fresh, relatable protagonist to those unfamiliar with the classic. On the other hand, it's a smart, sophisticated nod to Swift's satirical original. Using the omniscient third-person point of view, Crocker develops Michael's character through the boy's actions and dialogue as well as the observations of others. With a deft hand, he shows readers that Michael is not as lost as he is believed to be, and that perhaps it's the leaders of the villages—both big and small—who should be concerned about the way their lives are blowing. Timely.—Alison O'Reilly, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Young readers won't need to have read Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels to enjoy this fantasy about a contemporary kid who comes across a village of Lilliputians by accident. Twelve-year-old Michael Pine suffers from a lack of imagination, and who could blame him? His uncle shows no interest in him except for his stipend for caring for the boy, the local gang presses him to complete an initiation by robbing a store and he doesn't otherwise see much hope for the future. That is, until he stumbles upon a tiny village in the backyard of the town eccentric, Lemuel Gulliver. Michael's struggles to cope with accusations (some false, some true), keep his job at a grocery store and avoid the gang become compounded by his taking the responsibility of protecting the Lilliputians. Swiftian satire isn't completely absent here (the Lilliputian community devolves into a useless war, while the people in Michael's world experience their own power struggles), but the focus is more on character development than political commentary. Michael is the one character everyone else in the story relies on (Mr. Fenn at the store, his uncle who needs the stipend, the Lilliputians and even the gang, whose members lack smarts), and it's satisfying when he comes into his own to save the little people, sticking up for himself in the process. Fast-paced action, a sympathetic main character and appealing alternate reality combine here for a kid-friendly introduction to a classic. (Magical adventure. 10-14)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399242311
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
01/19/2012
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile:
750L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

Twelve-year-old Michael is headed for a life of gangs and thuggery until a dust-up with the law brings him to the backyard of one Lemuel Gulliver; there a miniature town and its pint-sized residents give Michael’s life new direction. Gulliver introduces Michael to the Lesser Lilliputians as their next guardian, and the young boy takes to his new duties with enthusiasm, repairing fire-damaged buildings, helping the residents construct a new town center, and fending off the latest invasion of weasels. When Gulliver takes off, however, Michael’s old gang life catches up with him and he finds himself in juvenile hall, leaving the little people vulnerable to murderous rodents and scheming gang members. Specific knowledge of Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels isn’t necessary, but readers will need some pretty sophisticated sensibilities to get Crocker’s adult-oriented humor, including allusions to grand poobahs and macguffins; indeed, most of the satirical elements of the Lilliputians’ society have the potential to fly over the heads of the book’s target audience. Michael’s story, however, works well as a tale of redemption, and his transformation from a lost and neglected nobody to a thoughtful, devoted caretaker of an entire village is heartwarming.
 
The slew of action in the last thirty pages or so helps compensate for a slow start, so readers who stick it out will be duly rewarded by an exciting chase and a happy ending. KQG

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