I loved this book as a kid, and love it even more as an adult. It comes under a genre called ‘literary nonsense’ and it’s not hard to tell why – with whimsical, anthropomorphic characters and perfectly nonsensical poems, this book brings your imagination to life. Wonderland is a figment of Alice’s imagination, and so I guess all the whimsy is supposed to be reflective of a 7 year old girl’s mind. It’s been a long time since I was that age, so I can’t remember if my imagination was that vivid or not!!
Being a bit of a maths geek, I’ve always been interested in the maths aspects of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – the most obvious bit being the deck of cards theme (followed up with a chess theme in Through the Looking Glass). Without going into all the technical aspects of mathematics hidden in the story, there’s plenty there to keep very high-level mathematicians busy for a long time (if you’re really interested, have a look here for some of the mathematical aspects).
My favourite part of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has got to the be the poems – many of which are parodies of other poems (such as Twinkle Twinkle Little Bat).
This is definitely a book that everyone should read before they die – I’m putting it in my Top 100 books of all time. It’s aged well – some of the language shows its age (the number of times Alice says something is ‘queer’ makes me giggle a wee bit!), but for the most part, it has very easy-flowing language that makes for a quick and enjoyable read.
As for reading it to children, since it is actually a children’s book… I wouldn’t read it to my 3 year old, not because it’s inappropriate (although, some may say that the hookah-smoking caterpillar is), but more because he’s likely to get bored at his age. Once a child is a wee bit older and at school, they would be better able to appreciate this book, I think.
A keeper in my bookshelf, that’s for sure.