Through the Looking-Glass: And What Alice Found There (Abridged and Illustrated)
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About the Author
Lewis Carroll was the pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898), English author, mathematician, and photographer. One of eleven children of a scholarly country parson, he studied mathematics at Oxford, obtained a university post, and then was ordained as a deacon but found true success with his masterpiece, Alice's Adventures Under Ground, now known as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which originated as a story told to a young friend, Alice Liddell, during a boating trip on the Thames. Among his other works are Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, The Hunting of the Snark, and Jabberwocky.
"A clever retelling of Carroll's classic story with all the imagery of the original." --The Wishing Shelf
It is, I think, very important to open the classics to younger children. Although the original texts are, of course, the best, there is still plenty of room for a good retelling, particularly if the story can then be accessed by younger readers.
In this abridgment of Lewis Carroll's popular children's novel, the authors have worked very hard to include many aspects of the original, from the Jabberwocky to Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Also, the imagery of 'chess' is still prominent, as is the 'mirror' theme, i.e. everything seems to be backwards.
I think, all in all, the authors have worked wonders with this retelling. It must be remembered, this is a difficult story in many ways. Carroll, I think, is a rather odd writer who tends not to focus so much on plot, but on setting and character - and, of course, trying to confuse the reader as much as possible. I often wonder if, when he wrote his Alice books, he wasn't enjoying a large number of mind-altering drugs.
But, thankfully, the two authors have persevered. And, by doing so, are offering 7 - 12 year olds a very accessible text. Carroll's word play is still there, as is his logic and, of course, his fantasy. But, with a text of this sort, the young reader now has a chance of understanding it. Well, most of it anyway.
Finally, to the drawings. The illustrator is very talented; VERY talented, helping the reader to picture the characters and to understand Carroll's often surreal settings. Although I enjoyed the story, it was, in fact, the drawings that blew my mind. If I ever write a children's book, I will be turning to Farzana Cooper to illustrate it.
To sum up, this retelling would, I think, would be welcome in any school library. And, if I was trying to help a younger child to access Carroll's work, a book of this nature would be most welcome. Let's face it, it has to be better than the 2016 Johnny Depp film. Now that was terrible!
--A 'Wishing Shelf' Book Review