"She saw: first, a square opening, about eight inches wide, in the lowest step...finally she saw that there was a walnut shell, or half one, outside the nearest door...she went to look at the shell—but looked with the greatest astonishment. There was a baby in it."
So ten-year-old Maria, orphaned mistress of Malplaquet, discovers the secret of her deteriorating estate: on a deserted island at its far corner, in the temple long ago nicknamed Mistress Masham's Repose, live an entire community of people—"The People," as they call themselves—all only inches tall. With the help of her only friend—the absurdly erudite Professor—Maria soon learns that this settlement is no less than the kingdom of Lilliput (first seen in Gulliver's Travels) in exile. Safely hidden for centuries, the Lilliputians are at first endangered by Maria's well-meaning but clumsy attempts to make their lives easier, but their situation grows truly ominous when they are discovered by Maria's greedy guardians, who look at The People and see only a bundle of money.
"It is literate, graceful and malicious…altogether a really charming contrivance."
— Diana Trilling
"A masterpiece of narration, literary ingenuity, humor and satire. Mr. White, on the basis of this book, deserves to be mentioned in the company of Evelyn Waugh, C. S. Lewis, and George Orwell as one of the few fortunate possessors of a splendid prose style."
"Readers of earlier books by T.H. White (The Sword in the Stone, Witch in the Wood, The Ill-made Knight) can expect the able recreation of period decor, the faculty of transmuting accepted literature into new life, elements of very human humor."
— Kirkus Reviews
"The action is shot through with humor, and the Lilliputians, with their eighteenth-century manner of speech and dress, are characters not soon forgotten."
— The Horn Book
"One of the finest, most magical and extraordinary children’s books ever written."
— Anne Fine, Children’s Laureate of Britain