Sunday, February 21, 2010

Story Book Sunday : Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

This is a feature I have wanted to do for some time but have not either had the time nor the inspiration. Wednesday has some wonderful story books that I have wanted to share with you but just really have not gotten around to it.

Well, that changed yesterday when Mr. Until Wednesday brought me home the most wonderful story book. Lewis Carrol's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland retold by Harriet Castor and illustrated by Zdenko Basic. It is the kind that I was told to "make sure that Wednesday is no where near you when you read this." and I did. I huddled up in the bedroom while she had her nightly shower and quickly put it away when she was done. I did the same a little while later when she was eating her evening snack. Finally, I put it away until she went to bed where I could enjoy it in peace. And enjoy it I did!

The story book was a joy to read and a delight to look at (play with). It had cupboard doors to open, tabs to pull to change Alice's size and even a disappearing Cheshire Cat. It has the most brilliant pop-up courtroom scene and even a word puzzle at the end for you to go back and look through the pictures more closely. The directions for getting to a comfortable size on the Caterpillar's page was the coolest trick in the book. When you read it, you'll get it. :)

The illustrations though, oh the artwork. From Alice's dreamy eyes and blue gauzy dress to the animals of the caucus race the beauty is in the details. At first I was certain the artist, Zdenko Basic was familiar to me by way of many a late night surfing the web. But after a quick google search nothing strikingly familiar came up. I did find some other beautiful illustrations from other books here though. You can read more about him here as well.
The Author Harriet Castor does a delightful job, both with the condensing of the story and the extras like "The White Rabbit's Guide to Wonderland". She is also great at adding in a few of the nonsensical nursery rhymes from the original book as well, particularly the Duchess' lullaby. She is also the author of the Fat Puss series of childrens books. You can read more about her here.

Now you might be wondering what a grown woman needs with a fairytale pop up book. Well, first of all Alice is not just a fairytale, it is the fairytale for me. It has been my favourite story since I was old enough to read the condensed versions. I have read many versions, and I own a wonderfully bound edition of both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There with illustrations by John Tenniel. I think my favourite might be Through the Looking Glass, but really it is pretty hard to pick as both books are full of the alternate/magical reality awesomeness that I have come to adore in children's literature. I have seen umpteen movies based on the book(s) my new favourite being the 2009 mini series Alice produced by SyFy. I have played the video game Alice designed by American McGee (Who is a whole 'nutha kettle of fish for another day!)and even own some of the dolls released around the same time. Of course there is the upcoming Tim Burton film which I hear is based on that same video game which just makes me squee with delight. I have yet to look up much on the movie because I want as much as possible to be a surprise! And you better bet Mr. until Wednesday will be taking me. But I digress.

Next week will be a more toddler friendly book. Usually it will be, but every now and again I find something that I love, and I do love children's literature. In fact I found a copy of Lemony Snickett's Series of Unfortunate events book 1 in the thrift shop last week that I plan on reading soon. Which, coincidentally was also on t.v. this evening. But again, I digress.

Do you have a favourite book from your childhood that you still enjoy reading as an adult? Something you can curl up with in a chair wrapped in a blanket? That is one of mine. I have more and I shall share them will you eventually. Until then, I bid you adieu and happy reading.

*Author's Note* All images in this post from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland published 2010 are copyrighted property of Carlton Books.