Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Book review by
Monica Wyatt, Common Sense Media
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Book Poster Image
A classic that both adults and kids love.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 13 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Exposes kids to wordplay, crazy riddles, and nonsense poetry, as well as Victorian language and customs and a little French.

Positive Messages

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is more nonsense and dreamscape than moral lesson. But it does imply the advice to, when in crazy, confusing, or challenging situations, try to keep your head (even when someone is constantly yelling "Off with her head!") and not be intimidated by outrageous characters who are insulting and threatening you and causing you trouble. In short: Roll with the punches.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Alice is polite, friendly, open-minded, and resilient as she navigates the chaotic world in which she's landed. She encounters all sorts of characters, some of whom are confusing, such as the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, and the Cheshire Cat, and some are mean, such as the Queen of Hearts.  

Violence

The Queen of Hearts frequently shouts "Off with his head!" and "Off with her head!" She orders the execution of the Cheshire Cat and threatens the Duchess and Alice with execution. The Duchess' cook throws dishes.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A blue caterpillar smokes a hookah. 

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.

User Reviews

Parent of a 4 and 8 year old Written byR. Elizabeth June 23, 2013

Read aloud captures big kids & little kids

I read this aloud on a long car trip to my just 4 year old and 8 year old. They both loved it, to my surprise the 4 year old most of all. There were enough of... Continue reading
Parent of a 6, 9, and 13 year old Written byJayne Smith July 4, 2012

Know your child

This book was very odd and rather disturbing; if your child gets nightmares easily, this is almost sure to be a cause.
Teen, 13 years old Written byavidcritc April 9, 2008

a classic that actually is classic

some classics have been around so long that nobody but kids notice that, sadly, they are classics no longer. this is completely not the case with alice. i love... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byKaty0 October 20, 2009
Everyone with different sense of humor should read this book.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the strange creatures in Wonderland. Which is the strangest?

  • Why do you think the queen is so mean? Are you confused by parts of the story? Which parts?

  • Do you like stories you don't understand right away? Why, or why not?

Book details

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