Stylish caricatures do more than the odd pop-up or tipped-in booklet to enhance this expertly retold version of the hapless traveler’s misadventures.
Preserving the original’s major incidents and satiric agenda, as well as the general flavor of Swift’s language, Castor’s retelling frames Gulliver’s account of visits to Lilliput, Brobdingnag, Laputa, Glubbdubdrib and the land of the equine Houyhnhnm as one long outing rather than separate voyages. Alas, Juarez doesn’t depict Gulliver’s piddle-save of Lilliput’s burning palace (the narrator describes it well enough, though). Otherwise, his spread-filling, meticulously detailed cartoons depict all of the supposedly exotic peoples Gulliver meets—except for the equine Houyhnhnm—as recognizably human types endowed with comically exaggerated expressions and, often, wildly baroque versions of 18th-century dress (or in the case of the Yahoos, discreet undress). Except for a truly Brobdingnagian pop-up hand reaching down for the startled narrator, the special features are a scant and unremarkable assortment of sliders, flaps and glued-in minibooks.
Readers who might find the original classic too long or savage will get satisfying doses of both Gulliver’s experiences and Swift’s dim view of human nature. (Pop-up abridged classic. 10-13)