Published 19 January 2012 by Philomel. ARC recieved from publisher.
Michael Pine has a difficult life, and doesn't help himself out of his bad circumstances. After a run in with the police following gang-related activities, he ends up working in a grocery shop as part of his community service punishment. This helps him a lot-- he is able to help the owner a great deal and establish himself as reliable. The gang activity still beckons, but he has enough support to stay strong. He has also discovered, in the gardens of an elderly man, an entire village of Lilliputians. Initially, he comes upon them when their city is in crisis, and once he comes to their aid, the inhabitants ask him for more and more help. Not only is the society a threat to itself, with brewing civil wars, but outside forces like ferrets and gang members are encroaching. Michael learns to rely on his own inner strength to help not only the Lilliputians, but himself as well.
Strengths: Students always like to read about children having troubles with gangs (maybe because all of our 7th graders still read The Outsiders), and the twist on the classic Swift tale is well done.
Weaknesses: I felt that I was missing a lot not having Gulliver's Travels fresh in my mind, especially when there are flashbacks to the 1700s delivered via letters. This was also a distinctly British book that my students might have trouble with.