I recently re-read Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll and it helped me remember how in love with this fairy tale I was as a child. The idea of slipping off into a world that you could freely explore where nothing was as it seemed very much appealed to my young imagination. As evidenced by the numerous book and movie adaptations and spin-offs, it obviously appeals to many people. I think a few things contribute to its appeal: the novelty of the nonsense world Carroll created, seeing everything from the unique child-like perspective of Alice herself, and an element of horror always in the background and sometimes center stage. But there's more to it than that. A poet W.H. Auden said of Alice:
"...one of the most important and powerful characters is not a person but the English language. Alice, who had hitherto supposed that words were passive objects, discovers that they have a life and will of their own. When she tries to remember poems she has learned, new lines come into her head unbidden and, when she thinks she knows what a word means, it turns out to mean something else."
I couldn't agree more. Carroll's nonsense verse and plays on words are one of the reasons I have re-read this book several times!
You can indulge your love of all things Alice at the library. We have the originals, the adaptations, and the spin-offs. Here's a sampling:
Alice I Have Been: A Novel
Alice Lidell, who Alice in Alice in Wonderland is based on, is the protagonist in this well-reviewed novel.
The Alice in Wonderland Cookbook: A Culinary Diversion
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
Carroll's original two books about Alice and Wonderland - this edition includes the original illustrations by John Tenniel.
The Annotated Alice
Includes both Alice and Looking Glass w/ Tenniel's illustrations and annotations by Martin Gardner, an expert on Carroll and Alice.
The Looking Glass Wars
Great YA and up spin-off on Wonderland - this is the first in a trilogy that includes Seeing Redd and ArchEnemy. If you like these books, you might also try the graphic novels based on them, Hatter M.
The Mystery of Lewis Carroll: Discovering the Whimsical, Thoughtful and Sometimes Lonely Man who Created Alice in Wonderland
TV mini-series spin-off with a grown-up Alice revisiting a changed Wonderland. Kathy Bates stars as the Queen of Hearts.
Alice in Wonderland
Spin-off directed by Tim Burton starring Johnny Depp
Alice in Wonderland
Walt Disney's animated adaptation
Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland
1933 adaptation featuring Cary Grant, W. C. Fields, and others