Most helpful positive review
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful, hugely entartaining book
on 25 February 2013
I think this is a wonderful book. I first read it many years ago and have loved it ever since, and I am delighted to see it reissued. It is a terrific adventure which is wise, humane and very funny indeed in places.
The plot revolves around Maria, a shy and lonely girl in a decaying mansion, who discovers a group of Lilliputians living on an island in the lake in the mansion's grounds. There are some terrifically bad baddies in the governess and the vicar and a fabulous pair of good allies in the cook and a magnificently scatty but amazingly erudite retired professor who lives on the estate. As with White's much better known The Once And Future King, the adventure story is beautifully told, extremely involving and contains all manner of nuggets of knowledge and wisdom - for example, Maria has to come to terms with being able to force these tiny people to do what she wants, and there are some very important ideas about the responsibilities of power within the story.
I cannot resist quoting one of my favourite passages, spoken by the professor:
"As we all know, I am a failure in the world. I do not rule people, nor deceive them for the sake of power, nor try to swindle their livelihood into my own possession. I say to them: Please go freely on your way, and I will do my best to follow mine. Well then Maria, although this is not a fashionable way of going on, nor even a successful one, it is a thing which I believe in - that people must not tyrannize, nor try to be great because they are little. My dear, you are a great person yourself, in any case, and you do not need to lord it over others, in order to prove your greatness."
I love this book. It is a terrific romp in which villany is confounded in the end, but which also has real substance. I think intelligent readers of all ages would enjoy this hugely, and I recommend it very warmly indeed.