Book Cover
Title Alice in Wonderland
Author Al Dempster
Illustrated By Walt Disney
Publisher Western Publishing Company - 1979
First Printing Western Publishing Company - 1951
Book Cover
Title Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Author Lewis Carroll
Illustrated By Malcolm Ashman
Publisher Dragon's World - 1990
First Printing 1865
Book Cover
Title Alice Through the Looking Glass
Author Lewis Carroll
Illustrated By Malcolm Ashman
Publisher Dragon's World - 1989
First Printing 1872
Category Children
Warnings None
Main Characters Alice, Cheshire Cat, White Rabbit, Queen of Hearts, White Queen, Red Queen
Main Elements Anthropomorphic
Website Available on Project Gutenberg

"I didn't know that Cheshire cats always grinned; in fact I didn't know that cats could could grin"

Alice in Wonderland is one of the few truly classic nineteenth century works for children, and for this new edition Malcolm Ashman has produced a gallery of fresh and lively illustrations. The Mad Hatter, the Mock Turtle, and of course the Cheshire Cat are all here, flitting through eccentric tea parties, lobster quadrilles, and investigations into the theft of certain tarts.

"Curiouser and curiouser..."

Alice's adventures in the contrairiwise world Through the Looking Glass have brought endless pleasure to children and adults for over 100 years.

In this new edition, Malcolm Ashman's eloquent watercolours capture Alice's wry observations to perfection, as we meet the notorious Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the muddle-headed White Knight, and myriad nursery rhyme characters and chess pieces wondrously brought to life.

Decided to put all my Alice related reviews into one.

The first is a picture book based on the Disney movie. It actually has aspects of both Alice stories (Wonderland & Looking Glass) so it isn't exactly a faithful retelling of the story, but close enough. The artwork is almost as classic as the John Tenniel illustrations.

The next two are the two books are as written by Lewis Carroll, however they were illustrated by Malcolm Ashman. I found I didn't like the way Ashman drew Alice's face, but otherwise the artwork was beautiful and attempted to capture the surrealistic atmosphere of Wonderland and the Looking Glass world. This edition is not available anymore, which is a pity since the pages were glossy and in full colour. But there are so many editions of these stories so I'm sure there are many other editions that are equally beautiful, or you can always download a free copy from Project Gutenberg.

Now as to the stories themselves...well, Carroll certainly had an unusual and somewhat disturbing imagination to come up with the really strange and bizarre things Alice encounters while in Wonderland and on the other side of the Looking Glass. Sometimes it is so strange that you can't quite understand exactly what is going on, and as Alice often complains, many of the characters are for all intents and purposes insane. But there is something oddly fascinating about this world, there is a reason this is a classic tale, it draws you in. The one downside, I never liked Alice. I think she's an annoying little snobby brat. But sometimes characters in British tales have a tendency of coming off that way.

And anyone who owns a cat knows they grin! They grin, smile and smirk depending on their mood. But that famous quote aside, there are several scenes in these stories that I love (like where both Alice and the Unicorn agree to believe in each other's existence) or the Jabberwocky poem which is made up of the most convincing gobbledy gook ever. My sister's favorite bit is when Alice kicks poor Bill up the chimney ("There goes Bill!"). Everyone has their own favorite bits.

If you've only seen the Disney movie, or the more recent Tim Burton adaptation (more like a sequel than a retelling of the story) you should still read these stories in their original form. Neither is quite right, and there is something to the way Carroll writes that makes it even more strange and wonderful.

I'm sure many a student has written a thesis on the meanings of the images and metaphors in these two tales, but sometimes one should just take a tale of dreams, nonsense and madness for what it is and enjoy the journey...

Posted: December 2010


Background, images and content (unless otherwise noted) are SunBlind
Do not use without permission.