Summer Books: Mapping Gulliver’s Travels
This week, we read portions of Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, and we watched two film versions: a somewhat-faithful 3-hour television movie from 1996 starring Ted Danson; and the first non-Disney animated movie from the late 1930s. The kids had certain favourite moments from the tale. They absolutely loved the final two sections of the travels, particularly the Houyhnhnms of book four [the talking horses who point out the brutality of the human race] and, from book three, the philosophers from the flying island of Laputa [those fellows who require a good swatting in order to regain consciousness]. Their favour of the latter books, of course, proves how important it is to introduce kids to ALL of the books in Swift’s Gulliver, not simply the wee Lilliputians and the Brobdingnagian giants of the first two, which tend to receive the most treatment in film and media.
Here’s our media list and a suggested book for smaller fry or early readers:
Gulliver’s Travels  Jonathan Swift
Gulliver’s Travels , dir Charles Sturrige, starring Ted Danson
Max Fleischer’s Gulliver’s Travels , dir Max Fleischer
A kiddie version for younger readers: Stepping Stones: Gulliver’s Travels adapted by Nick Eliopulos
Over the weekend, Blaise showed the kids a selection of “maps” of imagined places in the front matter of various works of fiction. [We decided to show them alternative models as opposed to the maps that sometimes accompany the Gulliver book so as not to get in the way of their own imagining.] Then, with large pieces of paper and the full complement of art supplies [pens, pencils, oil pastels, sharpies, you name it], the kids drew their own versions of a “map” of Gulliver’s travels.