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Maria Salvadore
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Maria Salvadore

Alice in Wonderland - the book that keeps inspiring

This morning I read a review in the Washington Post (opens in a new window) of Tim Burton’s new movie, Alice in Wonderland. And I continue to think about the film — and the book that inspired it.

In Lewis Carroll’s book, Alice is bored as she sits by her sister (who is reading a book “without pictures or conversations”). The monotony is relieved when Alice follows a Rabbit in a waistcoat and falls down a rabbit hole for an unforgettable adventure — an adventure that includes meeting a Mad Hatter.

Lots of child — and adult — appeal here. Boredom on a regular-enough-day turned into fantasy and high adventure. The story of Alice and her extraordinary escapades have once again inspired another interpretation.

There have been innumerable versions in book form.

There’s a show-stopping pop-up of Alice done by Robert Sabuda (opens in a new window) (Simon & Schuster), a capable adaptation for newly independent readers by Mallory Loehr (opens in a new window) (Random), and a dramatically illustrated version by British picture book artist, Alison Jay (opens in a new window) (Dial). There’s even a comic-book version that will be coming out this month by Jamison Odone entitled Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Stickfiguratively Speaking) (opens in a new window).

Disney’s already done an animated film version. The newly released film, however, seems to update Alice in plot and the way it was created (e.g., the use of computer generated animation and unlikely stars in key rolls such as Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter).

So what’s wrong with this picture? Nothing, of course.

But there is a danger that children will miss Lewis Carroll’s original (would you believe it was originally written in 1865?) — distinguished by its rich language, ingenious imagination, and intriguing twists. It’s an especially satisfying read aloud when coupled with John Tenniel’s detailed, expressive, black and white illustrations.

To miss all that…now that would be a shame.

About the Author

Reading Rockets’ children’s literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids’ books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Publication Date
March 5, 2010

Related Topics

Children’s Books