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on 28 July 2009
People tend to lump "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking-Glass (and What Alice Found There)" into one collection which has taken on the new title of "Alice in Wonderland". This is probably a product of the movies, which took bits and pieces from each and made a composite adventure. This was possible, because Lewis Carroll (a.k.a. Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) managed to make the stories so even in quality that they can be put together seamlessly. He also managed to keep the stories enough different, that one can still enjoy reading both of them one after the other, without the feeling that the second is just a retelling of the first.

To be sure, there are several ways in which the stories are similar, but not to the point where it detracts from the reader's enjoyment of the story. There are only three characters which appear in both books, one of which is Alice. The other notable characters (the Cheshire Cat, the Queen of Hearts, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Humpty Dumpty, etc.) are well distributed between the two books. Thus there is a looking-glass between the two, just as the looking-glass plays such a key role in the second book.

The Penguin Classics edition of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass" includes both books including the illustrations by John Tenniel. It also includes the original "Alice's Adventures under Ground" which includes Lewis Carroll's artwork. For additional features, it includes `"Alice" on the Stage' an article which Lewis Carroll wrote after seeing a production of the stage version, and it includes preface's to the books which Lewis Carroll wrote in 1896 for the 1897 editions. There are wonderful notes for both books, and a very informative introduction by Hugh Haughton. There is other supporting material as well. To sum up, this edition has pretty much anything one could want, other than a complete collection of Carroll's work.

A last comment on the introduction, it covers the biographical information for Reverend Dodgson, and the information on how the stories came about. Some of this information may detract from one's enjoyment of the story, but one can certainly understand the decision to include it for those who are interested in Reverend Dodgson and his life. All in all, this edition is packed with everything and will suit those who just want to read the stories as well as those who want to delve deep into their origins.
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on 17 December 2014
Be warned that this edition doesn't have any of the colour plates (which I miss because I absolutely loved them when I had the book as a child). Otherwise it is very nice, and has lots of black and white illustrations, beautifully laid out.
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on 27 June 2013
I'm a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland and have purchased various editions over the years but this is hands down my favourite. I bought it as a gift for my niece but it was just too nice to give away so I kept it for myself!!
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on 13 December 2011
Its the 3rd one I have purchased of the pop up variety and my grandson who 2 is mesmerised by them everytime time we open them.some may think they are rather costly but believe me you will have these books for years to come.
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on 3 October 2001
I read the original text of Carroll's masterpiece when I was 18 years old (I'm 22 now). I knew only interpretations made by Russian writers before. They were funny but not comparable to the original. So I enjoyed myself from the first page of Alice's Adventures In Wonderland to the last of Through The Looking Glass. The book is so brilliant, full of clever humor, paradoxes and parodies. The so-called "nonsense" is very amusing and by no means without sense. Of course I sometimes missed meanings of Carroll's parodies and allusions. Later I read different references and explanations. The searching of meaning made the book even more interesting in my eyes. There is no need in mentioning characters of both books for they are widely known, but I can't stand the temptation. First of all - Alice herself. She is such a charming and sensible young lady. I laughed a lot at her thoughts and commentaries to the events. And then White Rabbit, Mad Hatter, March Hare, Caterpillar, Cheshire Cat, Mock Turtle, strange birds, the intelligent Mouse, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Humpty Dumpty, Duchess, King and Queen of Hearts, etc - they are creations of true genius. I also liked immensely Carroll's poems included in the books. I often notice that I am repeating lines from them. As for my favourite The Walrus And The Carpenter, I know it by heart. Wit, fantasy and magic make Alice's Adventures a superb children's book as well as a source of great pleasure for adults. Classical illustrations add more charm to this addition. I prefer them to more modern images (by Disney for example).
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on 24 April 2013
Beautifully illustrated,with a modern twist on the image of Alice, away from the blonde Disney - type image. Will be a book to keep and hand on, a real classic version of an old favourite.
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on 23 January 2001
I picked this book up again aged 26 having not read it for 15 years and it transported me to a magical, mystical world where anything was possible! Lewis Carroll's classic tale of childhood fantasy is a must read for all children and adults alike! Carroll's art lies in description...allow him to indulge you in tales of Mad Hatters having tea parties with White Rabbits in the woods, the terrifying Queen of Hearts threatening to behead the body-less Cheshire Cat and lotions and potions saying 'Drink Me'...will she grow or will she the book to find out!
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on 4 August 2010
This edition is a good bargain at under £3; it includes the original Tenniel illustrations which give a great feel for the truly bizarre nature of Alice's journey. However, I have a few problems with its blurb, which for a start describes Alice as following a "hasty hare" underground, and spells "imaginitive", well, imaginatively. The essay by Martin Gardner is an okay introduction to the text, if a little preachy: "It's hard to understand, but some adults, including a few peculiar psychologists, think fantasy is bad for children." I bought this edition for my Victorian lit set reading since I usually go for the least pricey edition of each text: for penniless students like myself I would recommend it, but for somebody looking for an edition they can collect and keep in the family, you may like to go for the better quality prints.
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on 15 June 2012
Alice in Wonderland was first published in 1865, a year that saw Charles Dickens survive the Staplehurst rail crash and the foundation of The Christian Mission (later to become the Salvation Army). At the other end of the scale, neither being saved nor salvaged, were the 400 rebels who were executed following an unsuccessful uprising against British rule in Morant Bay, Jamaica. Across the Atlantic Ocean the American Civil War was drawing to a close. Three days after the publication of Alice In Wonderland, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and just before the end of the year, the Klu Klux Klan were formed.

Strange times. Harsh times. If ever there was a time for an escape into 'Wonderland' then certainly 1865 was as good a time as any.

The first thing I will say is that I am amazed this book has stood the test of time. It is wonderful that it has done, but amazing all the same. Not because it's not good, but purely because it is almost entirely insane! At the height of Victorian stoicism and the dour industrialisation of England, Reverand Charles Dodgson decided to write, under the pseudonum Lewis Caroll, a short novel where the main characters are a talking rabbit, a vanishing cat, a deck of playing cards and a depressed turtle - not to mention a smoking catterpillar and a lizard called Bill. Oh and then there is a tea party that never ends because it is always six o'clock, a game of croquet played with flamingoes for sticks, hedgehogs for balls and soldiers for hoops. And the Caucus Race, well...

Although this novel was written by the author for the young daughter of a friend, there is no doubting that it is also for adults. Some of the conversations, particularly involving the Mock Turtle have the same madness about them as do Yossarian's conversations with Clevinger in Catch-22. The puns are superb and the situations entirely Pythonesque. The Mighty Boosh would be a lot less mighty were it not for Alice In Wonderland and you have to wonder at the influence on the likes of Terry Pratchett and Tim Burton. And all done without drugs!

But for all the madness there is at its heart a paen to the loss of childhood innocence. The last couple of pages of the novel are almost heartbreaking in their poignancy as Alice's elder sister looks down upon her whilst she sleeps so sweetly. She is almost willing her not to cross that threshold into adolescence and then onto adulthood - a land with more war than wonder.

Alice sums it all up when she says:

I wonder if I've been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is 'Who in the world am I?' Ah, that's the great puzzle!

Has there ever been a better definition of adolescence than that?

Just as one of the characters in Wilkie Collins' Woman in White continually refers to Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe for the answers to life's predicaments so I think I will always keep Alice in Wonderland handy. For these are Strange times. Harsh times. If ever there was a time for an escape into 'Wonderland' then certainly 2012 is as good a time as any.
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on 7 August 2009
...Being a review of the hardback edition of 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'

What makes 'Alice's Adventures In Wonderland' such a pleasing and permanent feature of English literature? The language is witty and efficient. The illustrations (here rendered by Mervyn Peake rather than John Tenniel) are expressive and by now depict legendary characters - the Queen of Hearts, the Mock Turtle and the Mad Hatter among plenty of others.

But there is also something about this lyrical little tale that exceeds these elements. Appropriately enough (Lewis Carroll was a Professor of Mathematics), much of the magic turns on plays of logic and dances on that fine line between complicated sense and non-sense. The inhabitants of Wonderland pose Alice (and us) with riddles which hint at the ridiculousness of the world that we've got. It may be a cliche to suggest that children are more open to those kinds of challenges then their more settled and resistant elders. But there might just be something to that too...

Alice herself is a compelling figure - pugnacious, precocious and adventurous. Through her, we are treated to a surrealist manifesto stuffed with the kind of themes that plague more self-consciously 'serious' literature - show trials, unchecked authority and cruelty to children.

Strongly recommended, for old as much as for young minds. Especially in this lovely edition, with its lovely thick paper and comforting weight. Will Self argues in his loving introduction that every great children's book can be reduced to the power of a single word, and that in this case that word is 'curious'. That aphorism smacks strongly of truth. Alice is curious, which is how she gets sucked into this adventure, but this little gem is curious too, and remains hugely preferable to any contemporary 'children's' story.
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