Up until now, I had a pre conceived notion about literature from that time period but "Alice in Wonderland" completely threw me off.
You know that feeling when you've been reading one bad book after the other for quite sometime then pick up an extraordinarily good book?! That insane relief and sense of refuge you get when you're finally reading a book you instantly fall in love with?
To me the sign of a good book is looking up after a short while of cracking the first page and realizing you've gone halfway through it. That happens because a good book doesn't tell you a story, it transports you into the story. You're not reading the protagonist's thoughts, You are the protagonist.
One of the good things about this book is that there are no unnecessary passages of descriptions that go on and on until you're bored to tears. Lewis Carroll is a man who gets right to the point. It's thrilling and every page holds new and exciting things. I love that!
The book takes you along with Alice as she dreams of a mystical land where animals talk and impossible things are quite the norm. It's filled with amusing puns and interesting little bits of language/common sense manipulation that any word aficionado/Adult child will just love. (Whew, run on sentence. Wasn't me!)
This is the book that all children's literature should be modeled after. It's fun, It's funny, It challenges the child's perception of reality. And not just for the purpose of amusement.
The take away message is that you shouldn't make assumptions about things and people just from their appearance. Investigate for yourself and expect the impossible!
When you say that to a child, the possibilities are endless!
I think a lot of people make the mistake of assuming children are not as smart because they're younger. And that's how you end up with children's books that are sure to put any kid off reading forever.
You can definitely tell how much influence this novel has had on children's literature as you go through it. Authors like Roald dahl and even JK Rowling have some of Carroll's particular brand of "nonsense" in their work.
Some things, I did pause at, though...
For instance, while reading Humpty dumpty's poem to Alice. I couldn't help getting the distinct impression that this is a more sinister character than all the rest. There's just something about the threat of violence with a screwdriver to fish that's worse than actual violence.
Because this is marked as children's lit. People tend to assume that it's all fluff and happy happy happy munchkin-like characters singing about tarts and rainbows! It's not!
One of the characters, The Red Queen, is in the habit of beheading her house guests on a daily basis.
Not that that particular stereotype of what children's literature is like is a valid one. (Or one that should be practiced exclusively.)
Your kids will be exposed to violence no matter what. It might as well be through a book that carries a moral and helps prepare them for what the world is really like.