Friday, March 27, 2009

In Wonderland Dreams Lie

Weary of her storybook, one "without pictures or conversations," the young and imaginative Alice follows a hasty hare underground-- to come face-to-face with some of the strangest adventures and most fantastic characters in all of literature. The Ugly Duchess, the Mad Hatter, the weeping Mock Turtle, the diabolical Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat-- each more eccentric than the last-- could only have come from that master of sublime nonsense, Lewis Carroll. In penning this brilliant burlesque of children's literature, this farcical satire of rigid Victorian society, this arresting parody of the fears, anxieties, and complexities of growing up, Carroll was one of the few adult writers to enter successfully the children's world of make-believe, where the impossible becomes possible, the unreal, real, and where the heights of adventure are limited only by the depths of imagination.

Title: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass
Author: Lewis Carroll
Illustrator: John Tenniel
Series: Alice, Books 1 & 2
Start & Finished: 1/4/09
Published: 1865 & 1871
Publisher: Macmillan
Pages: 239
Genre: Children Classics

In 1862, a man named Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a friend of his who was also a reverend and three little girls took a boat ride where Dodgson began to tell them a story to keep away boredom. It was a story of a little girl named Alice (one of the girls on the boat ride shared this name) who falls down a rabbit hole into a strange Wonderland. This man of course was later to become better known as Lewis Carroll and his story was one he shared with the world three years later called Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Then six years after it’s amazing success, a sequel called Through the Looking Glass (and What Alice Found There) was published although nowadays they’re often presented together as one.

Poor Alice! "How puzzling [Wonderland] is!" Yet, this nonsense world is amazing and wonderfully fantastic as well. With many classic stories, Walt Disney was my introduction to this brilliant story and even though it is a loose adaptation of Carroll’s work, it is still one of my very favorite Disney films; however, the film just cannot compete with the book. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass is a classic that I have been reading and re-reading almost my entire life and I’m glad to say that I still love it. Each time I have re-read the story, it is a bit like reading it for the very first time. Mainly because of my memory but also because there are deeper meanings (after all the author was a mathematician), word play, and other things hidden in this story's pages too that I understand a bit more the older I get.

Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland is a creative and beloved tale and “his facility at word play, logic, and fantasy has delighted audiences ranging from children to the literary elite, and beyond this his work has become embedded deeply in modern culture, directly influencing many artists.” This book will probably never be forgotten as authors write new books every day (such as Frank Beddor’s Looking Glass Wars trilogy) inspired by it or film adaptations are made again and again (though the most famous of these is still Disney’s animated version).

Whimsical, “literary nonsense”, or however you want to categorize these stories, there is no denying the fact that they hardly seem to age at all. So:

Thus grew the tale of Wonderland
Thus slowly, one by one,
Its quaint events were hammered out -
and now the tale is done,
And home we steer, a merry crew,
Beneath the setting sun.

Alice Series
1. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
2. Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There (1871)
The Wasp in a Wig (1877)
The Nursery Alice (1889)
Alice's Adventures Under Ground (1965)

First Paragraph: Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, "and what is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pictures or conversations?"

Books Wikipedia
Author Wikipedia
Works Based on Wonderland
Complete Book
An Interactive Alice in Wonderland Adventure
Lenny's Wonderland Site

Edward Guillino in 1982

Source: Personal collection, paperback

Related Reviews
The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor
Visitors from Oz by Martin Gardner


  1. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this, but I don't think I've ever read this book. I've seen the movie, though. I loved reading the background you provided.

  2. I love Alice in Wonderland and the artwork is amazing...timeless tale and wonderful review :)
    Have a Great Weekend!

  3. I really have to read the next book in Frank Beddor's trilogy! This post made me think of it.

  4. I hadn't known about the origins of this story before. How interesting! I haven't read the series either, I'm afraid. I grew up watching various versions of it though in movie format. I was quite addicted to the songs from the Disney version for the longest time. :-)

    Great review, Jen!

  5. This is one of my all-time favorite Disney movies. I watched it a million times as a kid but have never picked up the book. Great review and someday I will give these two a try.

  6. Great Review Jen!! Love the artwork on the cover as well. I loved this book as a kid, but I think I've seen the movie way more times than I have read the book. There's just something about Alice :D

  7. I love this book - and the disney movie.

  8. They really haven't aged. I love these books :)

  9. My husband has an infatuation with this book. He has to buy every copy that he can find. So we have at least a dozen versions lying around the house.

  10. Oh, I'm so excited to read your review on this book as I intend to read it for Trish's Classics Challenge next month!

    Thanks for your great review, Jen! I hope you had a great weekend!

  11. I think I actually preferred Through the Looking Glass when I read both last year. These are classics and I do love Frank Beddor's series. Must get the graphic novel that looks at the story in an alternative way as well (Return to Wonderland I think it's called).

  12. Bermudaonion: Don't be! There are quite a few classics I've never read (nothing by Jane Austen for starters) but I'm always happy to get around to doing so! Glad you liked the background :)

    TheChicGeek: Hope your weekend was wonderful too! I agree, Alice in Wonderland is amazing and so are the illustrations :)

    Kailana: Has it come out yet? I didn't think it had.

    Wendy: Thank you. Hope you do read it eventually! I'm addicted to the songs too :)

    Samantha: The book is awesome! Love the movie but the book is 100 times better.

    Wendy: Thanks. There is just something about Alice! Disney did a great job, you ought to re-read the book as there is so much to discover each time!

    Lenore: Me too :)

    Nymeth: Me too. I need to read the others that were written though.

    Natasha @ Maw Books: I'd love to have tons of copies! Love introductions and different artwork. Neat hobby!

    Melody: Can't wait to see what you think! Hope you had a great weekend as well :)

    Rhinoa: I need to get the graphics too, thank you again for introducing me to that series!

  13. I was actually disappointed when I went back and reread Alice's Adventures in Wonderland as an adult with my daughter.



Thank you so much for leaving me comments and coming by!

Don't forget to visit my other blog:
Up Close and Personal with LadyTink I'd love to hear your opinion or just "meet" you!

I do leave answers to your comments here.

Search This Blog