Reviews for Last of the Gullivers

Booklist Reviews 2012 February #1
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, who lives on the outskirts of town and guards nearly 200 Lilliputians who make their home 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 about what is best for the little people. This is a well-realized novel, brimming with hope and magic in many forms. Characters (of all sizes) are fully developed, and the setting is 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. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
Twelve-year-old juvenile delinquent Michael discovers the Lilliput of Gulliver's Travels fame in old Lem Gulliver's garden. His efforts to protect the garden's diminutive residents interfere with his attempts to turn his own life around. Michael's struggles bring a compelling, welcome grittiness to the otherwise light fantasy.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 December #1
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) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2012 February

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

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