Book # 854
In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:
Ever drifting down the stream—
Lingering in the golden gleam—
Life, what is it but a dream?
For me, this second installment about Alice is even more wonderful than the first (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), and that isn’t an easy feat! Both books feature Alice, a 7-year-old girl with a wildly vivid imagination. In her dreams, she enters magical worlds populated by smart and witty animals and everyday objects. She fearlessly explores, makes friends, and learns, taking the twists and turns of logic and magic that constantly alter the reality around her in stride. For child and adult readers alike, this is about as much fun as literature can be.
The reason I so love Through the Looking Glass, And What Alice Found There is its excellent poetry. The book contains both Jabberwocky, a poem stuffed with old-fashioned words that Alice needs help from others to decipher, and The Walrus and the Carpenter, a lovely poem with both sad and silly moments that has stuck with me as a favorite since my childhood.
What Carroll does so well is lift up and glorify the witty and imaginative ways that children think about words and logic as they grow and learn. He gives credence to what seems silly and absurd, and offers the puns, riddles, jokes, and even nonsense that children love and adults tend to groan about. He refrains from preaching or infantilizing, and an authentic sense of child-like wonder at the world pervades the book.
I highly recommend both of Lewis Carroll’s stories about Alice as family read-aloud options – there’s no better way to experience them.