Saturday, November 5, 2011

Alice in Wonderland review

Alice in Wonderland 
adapted by Martin Powell, illustrated by Daniel Perez
Stone Arch Books
August 2009

I enjoyed this fast read-through of Alice in Wonderland. Translated into graphic novel form, the undeniably trippy, dream-like nature of the original book comes through much, much stronger in this version. Alice races through one utterly bizarre scene after another, lending a particularly surreal feeling to this reinterpretation of the classic. As fast as she falls down the rabbit hole, grows and shrinks and meets the evil Red Queen and Chesire Cat, there are other equally odd occurrences taken from the original novel that I had forgotten about, such as the abandoned baby that inexplicably turns into a pig. While the adaptation remains very true to the original, the speeded-up narrative and largely visual presentation definitely up the ante, turning what is already a very strange and dream-like book into something altogether hallucinogenic.

The book
is appended with some background information on the inspiration for several of the characters - for example, cheese-makers of Chesire County, England apparently were famous for using cat-shaped molds, and of course, the tradition of Mad Hatters comes from the true story of many  Victorian-era hatters who suffered from lead poisoning and dementia in their line of work.

I hesitate to reco
mmend such an abbreviated version of the classic to young readers who may not return to the longer, original work if they feel that they've read it already, but at this point, Alice in Wonderland is such a cultural touchstone, you can't go wrong with this easily-accessible version.

I borrowed this book from the library.

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