Alice in Wonderland is celebrating her 150th birthday this year and during the summer we visited RHS garden Harlow Carr which was celebrating with an Alice in Wonderland trail. We were given a booklet of trail activities and as well as completing puzzles and quizzes we counted the Queen of Hearts’ tarts at each activity station. The Alice in Wonderland trail was a fun introduction to the story and its characters so we came home and read the book.
The Story: Alice’s adventures begin when she follows a White Rabbit down a rabbit hole. After unsuccessful attempts to get into a beautiful garden Alice swims with a strange group of animals in a pool of her own tears. She then takes part in a Caucus race and meets The Duchess and The Cheshire Cat before joining The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. She finally succeeds in entering the beautiful garden and finds a bizarre game of croquet taking place. Her visit to The Mock Turtle is interrupted by news of the Knave of Heart’s trial and Alice argues with The Queen of Hearts before being woken by her older sister.
Alice in Wonderland includes a colourful cast of characters including The White Rabbit who mistakes Alice for his servant, Mary Ann, The Mock Turtle who has a very bizarre conversation with Alice and The Queen of Hearts who threatens to behead anybody in sight. I have a very soft spot for Bill the Lizard and my daughter’s favourite character is The Mad Hatter. She enjoyed The Mad Hatter’s tea party with its strange rules and especially liked The Dormouse’ story about treacle but her favourite part of the story was when the hedgehogs kept unrolling themselves during the Queen’s croquet game.
There are many editions of Alice in Wonderland but we chose to read this edition with Sir John Tenniel’s original black and white illustrations. My daughter pored over them as I read, she was fascinated by the strange creatures described in the book and the pictures brought them to life. One of our favourite illustrations shows The Mad Hatter and The March Hare putting the dormouse into a teapot!
This is the first time that I’ve read Alice in Wonderland since I was a child and it struck me as quite a bizarre story although I guess that is the nature of dreams! Several of the conversations were difficult for my daughter to understand but she enjoyed listening and wanted to read to the end of the book.
Author: Lewis Carroll / Illustrator: Sir John Tenniel
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is the ninth book that we have read for the 2015 Classics Challenge.