One of the most popular and most quoted books in English, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was the creation of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832–1898), a distinguished scholar, mathematician, and author who wrote under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. Written for young readers but enjoyed equally by adults, the wonderfully fantastic tale is credited with revolutionizing children's literature and liberating it from didactic constraints.
The story is deeply but gently satiric, enlivened with an imaginative plot and brilliant use of nonsense, as it relates Alice's adventures in a bizarre, topsy-turvy land underground. There she encounters a cast of strange characters and fanciful beasts, including the White Rabbit, March Hare, Mad Hatter, the sleepy Dormouse and grinning Cheshire Cat, the Mock Turtle, the dreadful Queen of Hearts, and a host of other unusual creatures. A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
Source of legend and lyric, reference and conjecture, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
is for most children pure pleasure in prose. While adults try to decipher Lewis Carroll's putative use of complex mathematical codes in the text, or debate his alleged use of opium, young readers simply dive with Alice through the rabbit hole, pursuing "The dream-child moving through a land / Of wonders wild and new." There they encounter the White Rabbit, the Queen of Hearts, the Mock Turtle, and the Mad Hatter, among a multitude of other characters--extinct, fantastical, and commonplace creatures. Alice journeys through this Wonderland, trying to fathom the meaning of her strange experiences. But they turn out to be "curiouser and curiouser," seemingly without moral or sense.
For more than 130 years, children have reveled in the delightfully non-moralistic, non-educational virtues of this classic. In fact, at every turn, Alice's new companions scoff at her traditional education. The Mock Turtle, for example, remarks that he took the "regular course" in school: Reeling, Writhing, and branches of Arithmetic-Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision. Carroll believed John Tenniel's illustrations were as important as his text. Naturally, Carroll's instincts were good; the masterful drawings are inextricably tied to the well-loved story. (All ages) --Emilie Coulter