Book: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll
Illustrator: Michael Foreman
2004

I really like this book a lot. Every tome I read it I find more fun details and images in it. The illustrations in this edition, however, did very little to bring out those clever details that Carroll so specifically included. The world of Wonderland is very proper within this book. The chairs at the Mad Hatter’s table all match (which the text says they do not) and other such mistakes. In fact, there are a great number of detail mistakes in this book, some of them not so trivial. The one that irritated me the most was that the gardeners who were painting the roses red were hearts when they are supposed to be spades (I happen to really like that detail, so it bugs me). The mistakes are distracting and any kid will pick them out immediately, which isn’t a good thing!

This edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is illustrated by Foreman in watercolours. Supposedly the artist was trying to mimic Carroll’s photography, but other than Alice’s hair and dress there is very little evidence of that. Getting beyond nit picky details (which I admit, I tend to get hung up on sometimes), the illustrations still seem to lack the originality and magic necessary for the story. The author specifically draws the real world in sepia tones while Wonderland is in colour, but rather than adding anything to this story the technique just feels copied and overdone since it is a very common motif.

Mr. Foreman states in the back of the book that every illustrator must undertake Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at some point in their career. This makes me wonder if he really loved the book and thus wanted to illustrate it or if he felt like he should because it was expected. I don’t know. That might explain the lack of magic, though.

I don’t really recommend this book. I would do in a pinch, but there are many editions that are much better with far more wonderful illustrations (even Tenniel’s original drawings are better). Thus, I don’t recommend this book. If you need an edition of Alice, find a better one!

Publisher’s Description
Book Blog Post (First Impressions)
Book Blog Post (Illustrations)
Book Blog Post (More Illustrations)
Book Blog Post (Final Impressions)
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