Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Juvenile Fiction)
Alice was bored. She had peeked into what her sister was reading, but it held no pictures or interesting conversations. What is the use of a book without pictures? So, she began contemplating whether making a daisy-chain would be worth the effort on such a dreadfully hot day when a white rabbit suddenly passed by her. Not just any rabbit, but a talking rabbit…with a pocket watch. Perhaps this day wouldn’t be so boring after all.
Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a wonderful way to introduce your young reader to the joys of classic literature. From Alice (“Curiouser and curiouser.”), to the White Rabbit (“Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!”), to the Queen of Hearts (“Off with her head!”), this story brims with so many colorful and memorable characters, that it simply begs to be shared and read out loud. I highly recommend reading the version that contains the original illustrations by John Tenniel. His beautiful drawings capture the true essence and spirit of Carroll’s tale and allow the reader to become fully absorbed in the wonderful world which is Wonderland.
Aside from being a fanciful story about a young girl’s dream, there is a deeper message that Carroll lovingly bestows upon his reader. Once you realize that Lewis Carroll is actually the pseudonym of the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, an Anglican deacon, it’s not so hard to recognize or appreciate it. When the Duchess was taking Alice to meet the Mock Turtle, she said to the girl, “Be what you would seem to be.” Many characters in Carroll’s classic are, in fact, not what they seem to be. We find out that the Queen isn’t as bloodthirsty as she appears and that there is an understandable reason for the Hatter’s madness. Even the Duchess’s child undergoes its own formidable transformation. Closely resembling the Latin phrase Esse quam videri meaning, “To be, rather than to seem”, Carroll reminds us all—through a curious girl, a tardy hare, and a grinning feline—that it is far better to be the person you really are than to be the person others think you to be.
*Book cover image attributed to http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com