Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, MinaLima Design (Illustrator)

alice in wonderlandTitle: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

Author: Lewis Carroll, MinaLima Design (Illustrator)

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: HarperCollins Australia

Published: 21/10/2019

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 320

Price: $39.99

Synopsis: Lewis Carroll’s beloved classic stories are reimagined in this deluxe illustrated gift edition from the award-winning design studio behind the graphics for the Harry Potter film franchise, MinaLima-designed with stunning full colour artwork and several interactive features.

Originally published in 1865, Lewis Carroll’s exquisite Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass have remained revered classics for generations. The story of Alice, an inquisitive heroine who falls through a rabbit hole and into a whimsical world, has captured the hearts of readers of all ages. Perhaps the most popular female character in English literature, Alice is accompanied on her journey of trials and tribulations by the frantic White Rabbit, the demented and terrifying Queen of Hearts, the intriguing Mad Hatter, and many other eccentric characters.

Lewis Carroll’s beloved companion stories Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are reinvented on one volume by the talented design firm MinaLima, whose fey drawings of some of Western literature’s most famous characters will delight and enthrall, In addition, they have created interactive features exclusive to this edition, including:

  • Alice with extendable legs and arms
  • The rabbit’s house which opens to reveal a giant Alice
  • The Cheshire cat with a pull tab that removes the cat and leaves the cat’s grin
  • A flamingo croquet club that swings to hit the hedgehog
  • A removable map of the Looking Glass world

This keepsake illustrated edition-the sixth book in Harper Design’s series of illustrated children’s classics-will be treasured by for years to come.

~*~

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass have been enjoyed by readers all over the world since their publication in 1865 and 1871 respectively, and began what is now known as the Golden Age of Children’s Literature, where books for children moved away from didactic religious and educational tracts, and into a world of fantasy and imagination, of nonsense and fairies, and characters who did the most unimaginable things as they moved between the real world and worlds of fantasy and imagination, doing things they’d never have done prior to Alice entering the world.

Originally, the first time Alice was published, Sir John Tenniel illustrated the books, and these will always be my favourite illustrations for this book – so far, no others have come close. These are the ones cemented in my imagination. However, the MinaLima Design book is exquisite and fun – its interactivity and bright colours make the story just as engaging as the Tenniel illustrations and for me, come a very close second in my favourite depictions of Alice. Whilst there is a whimsy in the Tenniel ones, these ones have a bigger sense of the nonsensical aspect of Wonderland, and what it brings to the world of children’s literature.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are two books that have been loved for over a hundred years, never out of publication, and loved for many reasons. It is their nonsensical nature that is appealing, as it draws the reader into a world where anything can happen, and where nothing makes sense, even as Alice tries to make sense of it. Things get more and more ridiculous as time passes, and as she meets each character from the Cheshire Cat to the Mad Hatter and the chess game in Through the Looking Glass.

Where most editions have standard illustrations – either in black and white or colour, depending on who the illustrator or illustrators are – this edition has colourful illustrations on each page, as well as interactive elements – a growing Alice, maps, a Humpty Dumpty that can be revealed by sliding a tab, and many more that make reading this edition a bigger adventure than reading any other edition. It makes it fun, and I admit that I did savour this edition for this reason – so I could enjoy every aspect of it, whereas reading my original Tenniel illustrated one would be devoured within a couple of days.

This is perfect for all ages – to be read to, or read alone, and to share with people of all ages this Christmas and beyond. This is a story that has a special place in the history and creation of the world of Children’s Literature, and is one I could probably write an essay on. I loved this edition and these MinaLima editions are beautiful.

 

The Looking Glass House by Vanessa Tait

The Looking Glass House by Vanessa Tait

*I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher*

9781782396826

Title: The Looking Glass House
Author: Vanessa Tait
Publisher: Corvus
Category: Fiction
Pages: 304
Available formats: Print
Publication Date: 29/7/15
RRP: AU$27.99
Synopsis: What happened before Alice fell down the rabbit hole?

Oxford,1862. As Mary Prickett takes up her post as governess to the daughters of the Dean of Christ Church, she is thrust into a strange new world. Mary is poor and plain and desperate for change but the little girls in her care see and understand far more than their naive new teacher. And there is another problem: Mary does not like children, especially the precocious Alice Liddell.

When Mary meets Charles Dodgson, the Christ Church mathematics tutor, at a party at the Deanery, she wonders if he may be the person to transform her life. Flattered by his attentions, Mary begins to believe that she could be more than just an overlooked, dowdy governess.

One sunny day, as Mary chaperones the Liddells on a punting trip, Mr. Dodgson tells the story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. But Mary is determined to become Mr. Dodgson’s muse ­ and will turn all the lives around her topsy-turvy in pursuit of her obsession.

~*~

The Looking Glass House, written by Alice Liddell’s great-granddaughter Vanessa Tait, invites readers into the world behind the very first children’s book ever written that wasn’t didactic or moralistic. So when I received this book to review from Allen and Unwin, it was one that I saved for last, because the premise sounded so intriguing, and it was.
The story focuses the relationship Mary Prickett, governess to Alice and her sisters, Lorina and Edith, believes she is cultivating with the maths tutor of Christ Church College of Oxford University, Charles Dodgson, known better to the world as Lewis Carroll, author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass. She is the kind of anti-hero some novels have, not quite evil but not quite likeable at times. I could not make up my mind about her, but found some things she did rather dislikeable, though there were times when the reader could feel some sympathy for her.
The story is based on family tales and diaries and letters handed down to Vanessa over the years from Alice to her son Caryl to Vanessa and her family. This gives it an authenticity that another author perhaps would find hard to come by, and would have to fictionalise many things. Though Tait fictionalised her family story, as she tells us in a note at the start, it makes wonderful attempts to fill in the gaps that are said to be there as to why Charles Dodgson’s friendship with Alice Liddell ended so abruptly. When I learnt about this in a Children’s Literature class, it stayed with me and I have wanted to know more about it ever since. Reading The Looking Glass House gave me an insight into this world, and what the cause for the end of the friendship may have been.
It was an intriguing read, and one that I hope to go back to at some stage.