Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the river bank, and of having nothing to do...when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran by her. Alice did not think it so very strange to hear the Rabbit say to itself, "Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!" But when the Rabbit actually took a watch out of its waistcoat pocket and then hurried on, she started to wonder! Running after the strange fellow, she was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole. Down jumped Alice after it (never considering how in the world she was to get out again) and she tumbled into a curious world inhabited by the Mad Hatter, the Ugly Duchess, the Mock Turtle, the Cheshire Cat, and more…
With his marvelous sense of the absurd, Lewis Carroll’s whimsical, fantastical tale delighted children and adults when it was first published in 1865 and has since become a treasured classic of literature.
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