The first two stories of Jonathan Swift’s 18th-century classic book Gulliver’s Travels are retold by Mary Webb in this illustrated version.
Young readers will be introduced to the fantastical voyages of Gulliver and his amazing adventures in the land of Lilliput (where he is a giant among little people) and Brobdingnag where he finds himself a little person in a land of giants. The two stories chosen emphasise the contrast in Gulliver’s experience. There is humour in the stories, particularly in the inventive ways Gulliver tries to help the Lilliputians, for example putting out a fire using his own ‘water’. There is plenty to reflect on too, and links to be found in terms of history and modern day politics; for example the benefits of living peacefully with neighbouring countries rather than seeking war, the effects of greed and how it feels to be under threat.
The book begins with a brief explanation of Swift’s intentions to satirise those who misuse their positions of power. Young readers might prefer to enjoy the stories first, and consider their implications themselves before learning about Swift’s aims in the introduction.
Gulliver is a well-designed book which introduces young readers to a classic story in an accessible way. The detailed and amusing illustrations enhance the retelling providing lots for the reader to observe and discuss.