The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. ‘Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?’ he asked.
‘Begin at the beginning,’ the King said gravely, ‘and go on till you come to the end: then stop.’
Tumbling headlong down a rabbit-hole, Alice enters the magical underground kingdom of Wonderland. Here, apart from changing size at inconvenient moments, she plays croquet with the Queen of Hearts before stumbling upon the Mad Hatter’s tea-party. In her second adventure, through the looking-glass, she finds that life is a game of chess, in which she is the pawn. ‘Curiouser and curiouser.’
Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) was in born in Cheshire, England. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published in 1865 (written to entertain Alice Liddell, daughter of the Dean of Christ Church) and Through the Looking-Glass appeared in 1872.
‘Wickedly funny word play and brilliant visual imagery, Alice in Wonderland has both in Spades. Or perhaps I should say Hearts. The great finale played out on the croquet lawn with disaffected flamingos as mallets and disappearing hedgehogs as balls and the Queen of Hearts commanding “Off with their heads!” to cards who have no heads and a Cheshire cat who has no body, still makes me laugh out loud. Now I’m a so-called grown-up, I recognise the novel as a parody of adult attitudes and form of government. As a child, I loved it for its mystery and adventure and, of course, the unique Tenniel drawings.’
Rachel Billington, author
‘These ground-breaking books not only changed the face of children’s literature, but of humorous writing for adults’