A pensive, titian-haired Alice trips down the rabbit hole in this adaptation that pairs the classic story with gracefully expressive illustrations. Ingpen’s detailed visions of the menagerie of creatures Alice meets lend them anthropomorphic qualities while remaining anatomically precise. The Cheshire cat, who peers out at Alice from a crowd of leaves with a milk-tooth smile, does so with kittenish serenity. The infamous tea-party is a cozy affair with intimate soft-focus portraits in pencil of the sleepy dormouse, hare (who dips his watch into his cup of tea) and the rather bleary Mad Hatter, whose pencil-drawn sidewise glances suggest it’s all dreamy good fun. A lovely and faithful interpretation. Ages 10–up. (Nov.)
Children's Literature - Kathie M. Josephs
Alice is sitting with her sister and grows tired of doing absolutely nothing. While her sister reads, Alice picks some daisies when she sees a white Rabbit dressed in a waistcoat. The rabbit is holding a watch worrying that he is going to be late. Alice follows the rabbit and falls down the rabbit hole. In this new, strange place, Alice experiences many adventures. Unfortunately, these adventures are not happy ones but are more like nightmares. This world is called Wonderland and has very crazy creatures. She meets the Mad Hatter, the Caterpillar, and the Cheshire Cat. When she meets the Queen, she is invited to play a game of croquet, but, when the Queen shows her wicked side, Alice's life greatly changes. How will she be able to find her way back to the home she came from? Are there any creatures that live in Wonderland who can help her, and if so, how will she find them? At the end of the book, the author includes information on the main characters, Lewis Carroll, the retelling author, and the illustrator. There is also a glossary. This is a good book to use when introducing chapter books. Books written in graphic format are favorites of mine. They make it just the thing for students who are reluctant readers and never seem to finish a book on their own. They are also a wonderful way to introduce a variety of genres to young people. Young readers who want to read anything they can get their hands on will enjoy the graphics and fast-paced text. The full-color graphics make an enormous impact on the story. Reviewer: Kathie M. Josephs
Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
This interesting book of critical essays is part of a series created by Dr. Bloom to accompany his "Great Books" studies. Bloom suggests that a liberal education should include the study of 100 of the greatest books ever written. They are the basis of this series and are listed in the beginning of the book. There is some debate, of course, on what are the 100 greatest books. This edition about Alice's Adventures in Wonderland includes 12 critical essays by well-known authors such as J.B. Priestly, Phyllis Greenacre, and Florence Baker Lennon. The authors attempt to categorize Carroll's famous children's novel in terms of thematic content, particular elements such as fantasy or love and death, and his use of poetry. The essays make for challenging and interesting reading, but as even Dr. Bloom admits, "Carroll's genre evades every definition." Carroll's use of nonsense is an English tradition not easily explained, and continues, thank goodness, as evidenced in many Beatles songs and Monty Python performances. Differing from folk tales in its lack of clear moral lessons, Alice's reading remains an exercise in the kind of childlike fun that leaves one thrilled and a bit apprehensive at the same time. The book includes an afterthought by Dr. Bloom, comparing the "Alice" books to modern children's stories such as the "Harry Potter" books; a chronology of the life of Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll); an extensive bibliography; brief vita on the authors of the essays; and an index.
Originally released in 1865, this book is a timeless classic. This edition, illustrated by Ralph Steadman, which first came out in 1968 but has been out of print for a long time making it somewhat of a rarity, has been carefully restored. Carroll's ironic tale, with the familiar cast of characters (Alice, the White Rabbit, the Dodo, the White Hare, the Cheshire Cat, the Dormouse, the Hatter, the Queen and King, the Mock Turtle, the Gryphon). takes on a bizarre life of its own with Steadman's black and white illustrations. Children who have been accustomed to the Disney version of this classic will be curious, confused yet amazed by what they read and see in this book (perhaps some adults as well). Steadman also created the hand carved wood cuts that make the title and chapter numbers. The illustrator started his career as a children's book illustrator and cartoonist in 1956 and since then has had his distinctive drawings in print internationally. Recommended. 2003, Firefly Books, Ages 8 up.
Cindy L. Carolan
School Library Journal
Gr 4–8—Matthews, well known for his work in sci-fi and fantasy realms, turns his attention to Carroll's classic. His illustrations, which vary between single- and double-page full-color airbrushed paintings and smaller sepia-toned vignettes, have an imagination-stretching, otherworldly veneer. Rich in purple and green hues, the cartoon artwork portrays an Alice with a somewhat angular face and straight blond hair. The depictions of the other characters are fresh and creative, as each familiar figure is festooned with delightfully exaggerated features, kinetic lines, and jewel-toned costuming. The paintings have a fine-art quality to them, and the grandiose scenes provide much detail and action for readers to explore and enjoy. Card-suit motifs appear in both the handsome book design and within the illustrations themselves. Unfortunately, some of the double-page artwork gets lost in the book's gutter. Matthews admits to suggesting "a wider visual arena for the story, including a space scene and the Palace of Hearts (not mentioned by Carroll)." The consistency of artistic vision and quality of the illustrations make this re-interpretation a success. The small-size type, which may demand more accomplished or patient readers, and the sophisticated visual tone make this volume appropriate for older Alice fans.—Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal
North Shore News - Terry Peters
A world where people fall down rabbit holes and confront talking caterpillars is a place where Steadman would feel comfortable. An interesting look at the artist at an earlier stage in his own artistic approach.
White Rabbit Tales [Newsletter of the Lewis Carrol
[Steadman's drawings] are still remarkably fresh and unique.
Don't count on a bookful of sweet, charming etchings of the shrinking golden girl; this is a somewhat less flattering Alice than the one we've come to know and expect. In over 40 pen and ink illustrations, this Wonderland is more tempestuous; of greater, grittier (and funnier) distortion... when dangerous satirists like Steadman exercise their imaginations and lyric, delirious pens in the slivers and shards of a distorted world look out.
Ferocious Steadman spin.
Victoria Times-Colonist - Liz Pogue
Denver Post - Clair Martin
Pair[s] a perpetually suspicious Alice with peculiar creatures that well warrant her chariness.
San Diego Union-Tribune - David Elliott
Explosive ink drawings... acidic whimsies splash across pages, bringing dear Alice a newly stimulating cup of tea.
Seattle Times - Mary Ann Gwinn
Carroll's hall-of-mirrors children's tale and Steadman's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" style make for an eerily perfect fit.
Waterbury Republican-American - Betsy Daley
Alice as you've rarely seen her... fun for all ages... full of the wit and wisdom Carroll originally gave us.
Children's Literature - Ilene S. Goldman
Intended as an introduction to real literature for the purposes of intriguing reluctant readers and unabashedly preparing them for standardized tests, this book does a disservice to a wonderful piece of literature. The graphic novel distills the classic book to its bare elements, quoting the phrases that are most known (or most tested), but losing the lyricism and poetry that define the language of the original. The plot elements move the story forward without capturing the delight and surprise of Alice’s adventures and omitting some of the loveliest moments. In fact, the story moves like a dirge, slowly plodding along so that the reader can memorize what might be tested. Sadly, the graphic illustrations are poor replacements for Lewis Carroll’s originals and, in some cases, render the scenes nearly evil. The Mad Hatter’s treatment of the Dormouse, for instance, looks like a form of waterboarding in a teacup. Tim Burton’s 2010 Alice in Wonderland would better serve reluctant readersalthough it also takes poetic license with the story, it is much truer to Lewis Carroll in spirit and imaginative execution. Reviewer: Ilene S. Goldman; Ages 10 to 13.
Children's Literature - Leona Illig
This chapter book adaptation of Lewis Carroll's classic novel adheres to the original plot fairly closely. Alice, who is bored while sitting on a riverbank with her sister, falls asleep and has a remarkable series of dreams which begin with Alice running after the White Rabbit and falling down a rabbit hole. Once through the hole, she finds that whenever she drinks or eats certain things she either shrinks or grows taller, creating considerable turmoil. Her fantastic adventures include swimming out of her own pool of tears; outgrowing a house she finds herself inside; attending a mad tea party; playing croquet with the Queen of Hearts; and finding herself at the center of a trial of the Knave of Hearts, who is accused of stealing tarts. A great deal of Carroll's original language is preserved, and some drawings by his illustrator, John Tenniel, are included. Because the current adaptation is so short, however, the charm of the original is lost. Carroll's humor, word play, puns, and even characterizations are mostly missing as the story simply summarizes one adventure after another. The focus on plot poses some problems, as many children today may find the story too nonsensical, or, worse yet, boring. Children who are already familiar with the story and who are reading chapter books may enjoy it. Nevertheless, introducing children to the classic Walt Disney movie first and then letting them read (or hear their parents read) Carroll's original book later on is likely to be a more rewarding experience. Children who read this adaptation and then never seek out the original will have been robbed of one of literature's greatest pleasures. Reviewer: Leona Illig
Read an Excerpt
DOWN THE RABBIT-HOLE
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?"
So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid) whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her.
There was nothing so very remarkable in that; nor did Alice think it so very much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself, "Oh dear! oh dear! I shall be too late!" (When she thought it over afterwards, it occurred to her that she ought to have wondered at this, but at the time it all seemed quite natural.) But when the Rabbit actually took a watch out of its waistcoat pocket, and looked at it and then hurried on, Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat pocket or a watch to take out of it, and burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it, and was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge.
In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.
The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down - so suddenly, that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down what seemed to be a very deep well.
Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time as she went down to look about her, and to wonder what was going to happen next. First, she tried to look down and make out what she was coming to, but it was too dark to see anything. Then she looked at the sides of the well, and noticed that they were filled with cupboards and bookshelves: here and there she saw maps and pictures hung upon pegs. She took down a jar from one of the shelves as she passed; it was labeled "ORANGE MARMALADE," but to her great disappointment it was empty. She did not like to drop the jar for fear of killing somebody underneath, so managed to put it into one of the cupboards as she fell past it.
"Well!" thought Alice to herself, "after such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling downstairs! How brave they'll all think me at home! Why, I wouldn't say anything about it, even if I fell off the top of the house!" (Which was very likely true.)
Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an end? "I wonder how many miles I've fallen by this time?" she said aloud. "I must be getting somewhere near the centre of the earth. Let me see: that would be four thousand miles down, I think." (For, you see, Alice had learnt several things of this sort in her lessons in the schoolroom, and though this was not a very good opportunity for showing off her knowledge, as there was no one to listen to her, still it was good practice to say it over.) "Yes, that's about the right distance. But then I wonder what Latitude or Longitude I've got to?" (Alice had not the slightest idea what Latitude was, or Longitude either, but she thought they were nice, grand words to say.)
Presently she began again. "I wonder if I shall fall right through the earth! How funny it'll seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downward! The Antipathies, I think" - (she was rather glad there was no one listening this time, as it didn't sound at all the right word) - "but I shall have to ask them what the name of the country is, you know - please, ma'am, is this New Zealand or Australia?" (and she tried to curtsy as she spoke - fancy curtsying as you're falling through the air! Do you think you could manage it?) "And what an ignorant little girl she'll think me for asking! No, it'll never do to ask: perhaps I shall see it written up somewhere."
Down, down, down. There was nothing else to do, so Alice soon began talking again. "Dinah'll miss me very much to-night, I should think!" (Dinah was the cat.) "I hope they'll remember her saucer of milk at tea-time. - Dinah, my dear, I wish you were down here with me! There are no mice in the air, I'm afraid, but you might catch a bat, and that's very like a mouse, you know. - But do cats eat bats, I wonder?" And here Alice began to get rather sleepy, and went on saying to herself, in a dreamy sort of way, "Do cats eat bats? Do cats eat bats?" and sometimes, "Do bats eat cats?" for, you see, as she couldn't answer either question, it didn't much matter which way she put it. She felt that she was dozing off, and had just begun to dream that she was walking hand in hand with Dinah, and was saying to her very earnestly, "Now, Dinah, tell me the truth: did you ever eat a bat?" when suddenly, thump! thump! down she came upon a heap of sticks and dry leaves, and the fall was over.
Alice was not a bit hurt, and she jumped up on to her feet in a moment. She looked up, but it was all dark overhead. Before her was another long passage, and the White Rabbit was still in sight, hurrying down it. There was not a moment to be lost. Away went Alice like the wind, and was just in time to hear it say, as it turned a corner, "Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it's getting!" She was close behind it when she turned the corner, but the Rabbit was no longer to be seen: she found herself in a long, low hall, which was lit up by a row of lamps hanging from the roof.