Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and Sir John Tenniel

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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and Sir John Tenniel

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: We've seen four editions of Alice from Macmillan and we've compared them so that you can see what will suit you best.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 72 Date: February 2015
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 978-1447287117

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It can hardly have escaped anyone's attention that 2015 is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and we've seen numerous anniversary editions.

If you're looking for information about the publication of the book, a synopsis, a study of the characters, reception by reviewers at the time (not that brilliant, actually...) and other details about the book then you'll find Wikipedia is as good a place to start as any. Even here in Bookbag Towers we can't agree about whether we like the book or not. Jill remembers it fondly but John reread the book as an adult - and didn't like it. Sue was quite clear as a child that she didn't enjoy it, but Peter has fond memories of being the White Rabbit in the school play.

Macmillan have five editions (that we've seen!) to celebrate the anniversary.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: Macmillan Classics Edition is a substantial hardback of the type which is handed down in families and stands a lot of cheerful handling. There's a foreword by Hilary McKay who has known Alice all her life. If you're looking for a book to give as a present this might be what you're looking for.

Another book which would work well as a gift is The Nursery Alice - it would, as the name suggests be particularly suitable for a younger age group. It's lush: cream hardback, red spine, silk book mark and twenty full colour illustrations by Sir John Tenniel. Carroll rewrote and simplified his original story and young readers are encouraged to engage with the story and the illustrations. This edition retains every word of the original Nursery Alice - including the original preface and adverts. It could be my go-to christening present.

The youngest readers will love The Little Folks' Edition. It has 32 of Tenniel's illustrations, clear font in a reasonable size and all bound in a hardback book of a size which is easily accommodated by small hands. Macmillan first published this edition in 1907 and it's a sixth of the length of Lewis Carroll's original story. Think in terms of a stocking filler, or small 'surprise' present.

Sometimes, what you want is a 'stuff it in your bag to read on the train, no frills required' edition of a book and Macmillan have delivered the goods again in a paperback with a Tenniel illustration on the cover.

If you're looking for a board book which will introduce toddlers to Alice then we can recommend Busy Alice in Wonderland, a rather clever piece of engineering which has been known to keep adults entertained for longer that we thought possible!

So, something for everyone and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending copies to the Bookbag.

We've also seen a version of the book which includes Through the Looking Glass.

Editor's Note

The precursor to Alice in Wonderland, called Alice Under Ground has been in the hands of the British Library and it has now been made available for everyone to browse on their website. This edition is unique in that it was created by Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll's penname) as a gift for Alice Lidell in 1864 and only adapted for publication a year later.

Buy Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and Sir John Tenniel at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and Sir John Tenniel at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and Sir John Tenniel at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and Sir John Tenniel at Amazon.com.


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