Lilliput by Sam Gayton
|Lilliput by Sam Gayton|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Linda Lawlor|
|Summary: For over half her life Lily, who is just a few inches high, has been trapped in a cage. She's tried many times to get away without success, but this time, she's got a really good plan. Escaping, though, is only the first step on her journey home.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 280||Date: March 2013|
|Publisher: Andersen Press|
|External links: Author's website|
Sam Gayton's tale of a tiny girl who longs to go home has all the ingredients you need for a thumping good read. There are villains and heroes, adventures and deadly peril, new friends and wonderful animals, plus some charming illustrations. Oh, and chocolate. There's lots of that, and the book is all the better for it.
Don't be fooled into thinking this book is just a rehash of Gulliver's Travels with a bit of The Borrowers thrown in for good luck. It has all the fun of those books, and even a little of the story, but it is something quite, quite different and unique. It's the story of what happens when Gulliver, desperate to prove that what he saw on his travels really happened, kidnaps a Lilliputian and takes her back to London, where he plans to exhibit her to all the world. It is, he keeps reminding her when she shouts and swears at him (not in English, fortunately), necessary.
Poor Gulliver is the laughing stock of Regency London. His tales of talking horses and tiny people have been turned into children's nursery rhymes, and now he is alone, penniless and near despair. Sometimes Lily almost feels sorry for him, but each time she tries to escape he gives her a terrible punishment: the Sock. And although Lily is courageous, feisty and determined, that dreadful fate almost breaks her spirit. Worst of all, time moves more quickly for Lilliputians: Lily is growing older by the day, and if she doesn't get home soon her beloved grandmother will have died of old age.
Help comes from an unexpected quarter, but the adventures of Lily and her new friend are by no means over. A vicious clockmaker is pursuing them, Lily is mistaken for a doll, and there is very nearly a tragedy involving mud . . . Still, Sam Gayton wisely avoids the obvious dichotomies between humans and Lilliputians, adults and children: there is good and bad in nearly everyone. And it's not all cheery light-hearted escapades, either: there's death, severe injury and for one creature at least, the loss of a cherished tail. Serious stuff gets mixed in with the comedy here.
Sam Gayton tells his fans that he wasn't sure at first if he would be allowed to write a story which took elements from such a famous book, but fortunately his mum reassured him and he went ahead. The world of children's books would be a poorer place if she hadn't! And he's not the first to do so, either: at the end of this book he lists quite a few other books written on the theme of Lilliput, including the well-known and well-loved Mistress Masham's Repose by T H White. The theme provides ample opportunities for satire and social commentary, not to mention a lot of fun on the subject of size and a thoroughly convincing argument for the benefits of learning a foreign language or two. They could save your life, you know!
Don't miss this book. It really is something rather special.
The same mixture of charm, whimsy and thrilling adventures can be found in Sam Gayton's first book, The Snow Merchant. And if you want more excellent stories about likeable heroes and magical worlds, try Goblins by Philip Reeve. It's brilliant!
You can read more book reviews or buy Lilliput by Sam Gayton at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Lilliput by Sam Gayton at Amazon.com.
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