Saturday, October 2, 2010

Book Review: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

 I recently read this classic to my 11-year-old and my 6-year-old.  It's the 1999-edition, illustrated with watercolors by Helen Oxenbury, and it's the integral text by Lewis Carroll, written in 1865.  Lots of difficult words and complicated sentences, and my two (English as a second language...)  middle kids don't always get everything without some explanation, but they loved every single minute of our nighttime reading sessions.  I read it to my two eldest kids a few years ago, so for my 11-year-old, is was the second time, but I think he enjoyed it even more because of that.  We would usually read one chapter a night, but sometimes more, if they begged.
Like I said, it's not a simple story.  But, the absurdities, all the things that are impossible, backwards and upside-down, those are the things a child's imagination is made of, and I think that is why this story has survived centuries and many, many generations.
The illustrations are beautiful,  several of them cover two full pages, and that makes for a nice 'break' between the words, a few moments of looking at the picture, recognizing the different characters.
I think I enjoyed the reading every bit as much as my kids!  I love the language, the well known strangeness of dreams, and I love reading to my children.  In addition to the literary aspect of it, those are moments of closeness, serenity, and - hopefully - stuff that good memories are made of...

The tea party with the March Hare, the Mad Hatter and the Dormouse.

Alice is growing bigger...

Bill the lizard gets emergency help from his friends, after being kicked out of the chimney...

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