cover image Gulliver's Adventures in Lilliput

Gulliver's Adventures in Lilliput

Ann Keay Beneduce, Jonathan Swift. Philomel Books, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22021-0

Swift's classic novel provides excellent fodder for this intelligent picture book, rendered as Gulliver's account of his time in Lilliput. Without sacrificing Swift's leonine wit, Beneduce minimizes the political themes, presenting the work as a satisfyingly fanciful adventure story. Spirin's lustrous, painterly art has a wonderful air of antiquity, a slight formality which gives the travelogue a feeling of authenticity. With his extraordinary attention to detail, each spread yields a wealth of interesting minutiae. Beautifully designed pages underline a nautical theme, as the text is placed on halyards while knots and anchors decorate borders. Warm sepia tones are often highlighted with unexpected bright spots--emerald greens and rich reds--analogous to the sparks of humor injected into the scientifically precise text. A well-realized production, this book is sophisticated, accessible and fun. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)