Carroll, L. (2005). Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
So, let’s start out with honesty. I was never a big fan of Alice and her adventures as a child. I found the cartoon tense and unnerving—too many “off with her head” declarations. And now, reading it as an adult, I found it…trippy. Too trippy for me.
It begins simply enough. Bored, Alice notices a white rabbit and follows it through a rabbit-hole into a world where she can change her height with a taste of certain foods and drinks, cats smiles, caterpillars smoke from hookahs, babies turn to pigs and time is a person.
While the illustrations will help ease a reader into the text of this edition, there are still A LOT of text on each page, which may intimidate some (including me). I did find that after I started reading, the story went quickly, with flashes of memory from the Disney cartoon helping me to visualize, surprisingly enough. And I think connecting the book to other texts may be a way to ease some readers like me into the text. A teacher could pair it to Sachar’s Wayside School series or the movie Labyrinth.
Activities to do with the book:
A teacher could create a lesson on manners or consider British history and philosophies of the nineteenth century.
If this book was used with high school students to draw out symbolisms, a teacher would probably have to address the implication of drug use among writers in the nineteenth century.
Since some students may have trouble engaging with the book, especially if they’re struggling readers, this book may be best as an individual recommendation.
A teacher could connect this classic to other books (a few are mentioned above).
“Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the band, and of having nothing to do” (p. 7).
“For, you see, so many out-of-the-way things had happened lately that Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible” (p. 11).
“Well, then,” the Cat went on, “you see a dog growls when it’s angry, and wags its tail when it’s pleased. Now I growl when I’m pleased, and wag my tail when I’m angry. Therefore I’m mad.”
“I call it purring, not, not growling,” said Alice.
“Call it what you like,” said the Cat.“ (p. 58).