A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that constantly changing predicaments, strange creatures, and the watercolors are very child-friendly. But difficult language, Carroll's nonsense poems, and adult humor will leave some children bored or confused. Still, it's a classic well worth the trouble and particularly fun as a read-aloud.
What's the story?
What strange and marvelous creatures will Alice find down the rabbit hole, and what amazing thing will happen next? The inventive language and charming fantasy make this a classic that both adults and kids love. Older ones will appreciate the satire, but some younger children will be confused or bored. Updated illustrations are appealing to children.
Is it any good?
Though there are many video versions and a lot of simplified retellings of this story, all kids deserve to know this wonderful adventure as Lewis Carroll wrote it. But it takes a particular kind of child to enjoy this: Complex language, nonsense, and the lack of a sensible plot are not to every child's taste. The book needs to be thoughtfully read aloud by an adult; few children will read this on their own. But, read aloud, the rhythmic poems can delight kids for their sounds and silly images.
The book works on two levels: as a delightful children's fantasy and as an impish poke in the eye to adults. Alice's strange new world remains just enough like the polite society of Victorian England that we can recognize it -- but it isn't terribly polite, allowing adults to understand much of the book as satire. Of course, kids usually don't see the satire; they simply enjoy the nonsense. If you've forgotten how to do that, Alice can help you remember.
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