Review Detail

Kids Fiction 1996
Delightful, fun, and BIG on heart
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What if Gulliver’s Travels to Lilliput didn’t go quite the way we’d thought. What if Gulliver went back to London only to be the laughing stock of all England? What if no one believed his tales? What if Gulliver had to prove he’d seen what he had? What if he had to steal away an actual Lilliputian to prove the wee folk truly existed?

And so he did.

In Sam Gayton’s LILLIPUT, inspired by the fabulous Gulliver’s Travels - Lilliput, we learn just how big the tiny Lilliputians can become, and how infinitesimal the giant yahoos resort to being.

Dear Lily of Lilliput is only six moons old when she’s stolen away by a giant. The giant takes her to a large city she cannot see properly from her birdcage prison, but she can hear it. For six more moons, Lily is held so that her giant, Gulliver, can finish his book and once and for all prove to the nay-sayers that his words ring true. The children will stop their rude songs regarding his sanity, and Gulliver’s colleagues will know he is a worldly man.

But Lily has a plan. Lots of them. To be exact, Lily has had 32 plans for escape. All failed. Only with the aid of her Finn Safekeeping, a rhyming chocolatier, a multi-lingual parrot, and an enslaved swift will Lily find her way free of her prisons and the evil grasp of an eccentric yet brilliant clockmaker. But as she ages with the moons--while giants age with the years--will Lily get home before it’s too late?

Lilliput is one of those books you can read repeatedly and never tire of. The writing is superb with a very bouncy quality that makes it easy to follow but also fun to read aloud. Even the few illustrations add a whimsical quality to the world around our characters.

Though told from alternating points of view, we never stray too far from our main protagonist, Lily. Her voice is clear, crisp, and full of spunk. She may only be a few inches tall, but Lily has enough gusto to scrap with any giant yahoo! Sam Gayton went to great lengths to show the world as seen from Lilly’s eyes. From a sewing needle making the perfect sword, a thimble that’s equivalent to a giant latte mug, and spider webs being the perfect rope, Lily’s world is wonderfully imagined. She is even so small her tears float around her like mist!

Finn and Mr. Ozinda make a delightful supporting cast. As Lily’s safekeeper, Finn does his very best to make sure Lily is safe. His loyalty never wavers. Not even when his own safety is at great risk. Mr. Ozinda, the chocolatier, adds a bit of humor and a moral compass for Lily, as well as Finn.

Mr. Plinker, the wicked clockmaker, is truly frightful in a genius way. His clock contraptions are perfect in design, if not in their purposes. From his unkempt persona and lingering foul stench, we know this man is up to no good from first whiff.

Even dear Gulliver plays his role well. From chastised adventurer turned Lily’s jailer, we sympathize with his journey. We understand his motives, even if his actions are a bit callous. But with a heart and spirit as large as Lily’s, you just know she’s bound to rub off on him.

Lilliput is without a doubt a wonderful addition to any library. From young readers to seasoned ones, all will find this tale endearing. Knowing how your actions affect others is a priceless lesson in life, and Sam Gayton portrays this with excellent tact in Lilliput. A brave spirit, loyal friends, giant-scale adventures, and just a touch of whimsy ensures Lilliput will prove even the largest obstacles can be overcome by the smallest of heroes, as long as your heart is big enough for it.
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