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The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition
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"Alice in Wonderland" classic version

Written in 1865, this classic is a tale of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by creatures who assume human characteristics.

'Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late, the Rabbit say to itself..and when he actually took a watch out of its waistcoat-pocket and hurried on and popped down a large hole, curious Alice, went after it never considering how she was to get out again.

Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an end? She tried to curtsey as she spoke...Ma'am is this new Zealand or Australia?... "Curiouser and curiouser" cried Alice... Now I'm opening like a largest telescope...Good-bye, feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet.... When suddenly thump, thump, the rabbit was still in sight as it turned the corner saying..Oh dear! Oh dear! How late it's getting... ( from the book)

And it goes on and on...and on. Of course the plot and the narrative are totally nonsensical but if you let your imagination roam and let yourself fall into its spell you will be transported along with Alice to a magical world with its memorable characters such as Mad Hatter having tea parties, and the terrifying Queen of Hearts threatening to behead everyone. You will meet Cheshire the cat, the turtle, the Duchess, Bill the Lizard, the Mouse, the Dodo, the Lory and Caterpillar and many more weird characters all the while growing and shrinking from drinking lotions and potions saying "Drink me". Ultimately you will move around very fast and achieve nothing...till you wake up and realize this was all but a dream...

This adventure has inspired numerous comic books, films, TV movies through countless adaptations and hundreds of editions of the book throughout the years. This story was one of the freebees on my e-reader so I decided to give it a go. Early in I missed the visual aspect I have always associated with Alice, but as my imagination kicked in and the characters came alive, it became easier to understand the humour and wits that played within the words and admit it was a refreshing experience. However my fondest memories take me back to the animated version created by the late Walter Disney and his Studios. Who ever said a picture is worth a thousand words really knew how to leave a lasting impression in a little girl's mind.

Unfortunately Amazon.ca does not have the version I read so forgive me for not reviewing "Through the Looking- Glass"
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on April 20, 2003
Wonderland is a truly fascinating place to read about.
I love the illustrations in the original versions---and HATE the later illustrations that were done as the book was published over and over. In fact, I once tried to read a copy from the 1980's but I couldn't go on with it because the pictures were bothering me. Luckily, there's really only one freaky illustration in the original version, and that's the picture where Alice's neck is very long. It's a bit disturbing.
But the book is well written and a good adventure story, too.
I love the characters. They're very interesting.
"'Well, then,' the Cat went on, 'you see a dog growls when it's angry, and wags its tail when it's pleased. Now I growl when I'm pleased, and wag my tail when I'm angry. Therefore I'm mad.'"
- "The Chesire Cat", Alice In Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
Come to think of it, the Chesire cat illustration is actually quite creepy as well. But it's not a big deal or anything.
The whole book's just weird fun. Where in the world did Mr. Carroll think of all this? The Mad Hatter? The Queen of Hearts? The Duchess and her pig baby?
Alice herself is a considerably strange character.
All in all, aside from a couple of creepy illustrations, the book is wonderful. Everyone should read it once in their lifetime---it's worth it.
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on January 14, 2002
The Annotated Alice provides a treasure chest of information on the two Alice books and on the man, Lewis Carroll who was responsible for their creation.
Martin Gardner provides annotations throughout the texts of both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. Gardner's annotations help explain the inside jokes and mathematical and linguistic puzzles that fill the stories.
Reading the Alice books as an adult is quite a different experience than it was as a child. The books' complexity really stands out on a careful reading. In fact, what are generally regarded as children's stories can be amazingly frustrating to read due to the complexity of the language and the almost constant stream of puns that are sometimes lost on modern audiences. One must remember that the stories are told purely for fun. Unlike other Victorian children's literature one gets no morals, plot development, or character development here. Alice is a yound child who stays a young child throughout her adventures. She neither matures or learns anything from her adventures.
This is a very nice volume in its own right. It contains complete authoritative texts of both books and includes the supressed episode "The Wasp in the Wig." The original Tenniel illustrations are crisp and clear. The only difficulty is that the annotations are placed on the same page as the text in a small column that sometimes supplies more information than the text itself. The annotations themselves range from the definitional to the clearly eccentric. One can read all of them or only the ones that he or she is interested in.
On the whole this is an excellent volume well worth the effort to read if one has any interest in the world of nonsense literature.
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on January 17, 2001
Do you want to get away from the hassles of reality, the stresses of everyday life? Then Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is the book for you. After reading it, I found that it can be entertaining for a reader of any age. Children can enjoy an outrageous character in the story, such as the Cheshire Cat. Kids like the sly, disappearing cat with the everlasting smile because he's unusual. Adults can also enjoy the story by examining the meaning of the seemingly shallow plot, a girl lost in a dreamworld, a wonderland. I myself enjoyed the book because it gave me a break from reality. It made me feel like all that I needed was to enter into a wonderland of my own. Is this "wonderland" really safe for kids though? Some people question whether this story is appropriate for children because of the unusual characters, but what is the real meaning? Is the Mad Hatter, with his neverending tea party and his bumbling speech, a portrayal of the mentally unstable? Is the Catapillar sitting on top of a magical mushroom, blowing smoke through a hookah, an emblem for drugs? Children would not see these things in the story, or would they? I think children could enjoy the story for its simplicity, not for hidden meanings. How can the story be taken further though? Adults should be asking questions about the book. For example, when first read, the plot seems simple, a young girl falls asleep and in her dream she tumbles down a rabbit hole into a backwards world where she grows to her liking, watches cats disappear into thin air, and gets crazy advice from a catapillar on a magic mushroom. One second Alice is reading with her sister and the next second sne is floating down a rabbit hole. Adults can examine twists like this and wonder what it means for the entire storyline. Does it foreshadow events to come? Older people would be more likely to think about the storyline and can have more fun trying to find hidden meanings. So this story is very appropriate for adults. The reason why I enjoyed the story was the break from reality. Obviously the story of Alice and her adventures is fantasy, but when I read it, it makes me feel like I can take a break from the world. This is because the characters and plot are so unreal, that they make me feel unreal, too. So this story, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, can be simple for children, complex for adults, and is a break from life for me. Overall, it is a very satisfying story. Are you willing to go tumbling down the rabbit hole?
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on January 17, 2001
This book was an interest in my eyes. It took fantasy and brought it to life in my mind. Through my imagination, I was practically in the body of Alice, experiencing everything she did. Lewis Carroll is an excellent author, depicting excellent pictures, thoughts, and questions in the reader's mind. His style and technique of writing put amazing imagery and specific descriptions through my imagination. "A found face, and large eyes like a frog, " was an example of a piece of his work that depicts a good sense of imagery. The main idea of this story is for the main character, Alice, to find her way out of Wonderland. Some examples of some of the characters were: Queen of Hearts, Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the March Hare. Lewis Carroll uses descriptive words and phrases to describe the many different characters in this fiction book. In this book, Alice goes from being in the middle of the woods to a large hallway, into a big pool of water, to a house in which she grows larger, and finally she meets a weird looking caterpillar resting upon a mushroom. She adventured from place to place, seeking help from many different creatures. Lewis Carroll has a very unique way of describing different events and is also very creative while doing so. For example, when Alice was playing a relaxing game with the Queen of Hearts, the author describes the ball as a hedgehog, and the stick as a skinny, pink flamingo, which puts a very creative picture in the reader's mind. In the process of this story, Alice drinks and eats things, even though she doesn't know what she was ingesting, she did it anyway. Every event in which happened, went with the pattern of the events in the story. Every event was important and was needed to make sense out of the wild story. In "Alice in Wonderland", Lewis Carroll uses his imagination to create a story full of memorable and fantastic events, used to put a smile on the reader's face and a strong grip on the reader's hand. Overall, I would recommend this book to readers 13 and older. This book will put a sparkle in the reader's eye, and a mind full of memories for a lifetime to remember. So if you have a chance, pick up the book and start an adventurous fantasy through Wonderland!
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on January 16, 2001
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is an extraordinary book that mixes the world of imagination and the world of reality. It is a perfect example of a story written a very popular theme. It explains that in the mind of a child things are not always as they seem. Alice (the main character) is a curious youngster who follows a white rabbit, in a waist-coat, down a rabbit hole. Alice finds herself in a strange new world where nothing is what it seems. Small cakes and unmarked bottles cause her to grow to be three stories tall and pieces of mushrooms make her shrink to the height of a playing card. As the story progresses, Alice encounters many interesting characters including a very demanding queen who sentences everyone to be beheaded before the end of a crazy croquet game. The author, Lewis Carroll, used poetry and rhythm to add to the already whimsical and mysterious atmosphere. He created individuals with exaggerated character traits, so the reader can easily picture them. For example the Cheshire cat with his giant grin and disappearing body. Carroll also included illustrations of the important scenes of the story, so the reader would be able to understand them better. This story perfectly explains the racing imagination of a child in a light-hearted and imaginative way.
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on January 13, 2001
I read the book, "Alice In Wonderland." This is a very good book to read but it can also get very confusing if you don't read it thoroughly. The author of this book has a very unique way of writing. The author thinks back as a child and put down everything that happened and then exaggerates it so much that it is a totally fiction book. "Alice In Wonderland" is not the type of book where you could skip over sentences, because you would get completely lost. This book is a magical book. It takes you into a world you never knew was there. The main character in this book is Alice. She takes many trips, not knowing that in her imagination she is making it all up. She goes from the woods, to a big hallway, into water, then into a house in which she grows larger than wanted, and then she meets a caterpillar on a mushroom. There are many other places she went and met other creatures that helped her along the way. There are many things you can learn from this book. For example Alice wanted to change her size (she wanted to be different than she was before) but then things went terribly wrong. She never went to the size she wanted to be... she either went too short or too tall. This teaches you that you should accept the way you are, because you will thank yourself in the end. You are perfect the way you are you never need to change unless you are bad and need to change into good. You could really learn a whole lot from this book but it is going to be hard for younger kids to understand. I personally recommend this book for 12 year olds and up. This book is really good, give it a try it will take you into a magnificent world and you will never want to come back!
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on January 25, 2000
Alice in Wonderland is a classic that all young spirited people should read. It has adventure, love, fantasy, and a lot of fantastic nonsense. Every page is exciting and mysterious with a bewildering twist. Lewis Carrol exceeds on making a childerns story into a fantastic novel for all ages. He has great imagination that he uses in his puns, riddles, and characters to make nonsense into complete thoughts and morals. Alice is a creative little girl who seems to find adventure around every corner. Everybody in Wonderland is just as creative as Alice; they all seem to be intelligent and fully spirited. This novel is something no one wants to pass by. Personally, I suggest this book becomes a classic everyone should have to read. Many things in this book capture a moment, like this qoute,"The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: at last the Caterpillar took the Hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice. "Who are you?" said the Caterpillar. This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, "I-I hardly know, sir, just at present - at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times sice then." Another quote that stood out and will help choose this as your next book to read is from the cat. "In that directoin," The Cat said, waving its paw around, "lives a Hatter: and THAT direction," waving the other paw, "lives teh March Hare. Visit either you like: They're both mad." "But I dont want to go amoung mad people," Alice replied. "oh, you can't help that," said the Cat."we're all mad here. I am mad, You are mad."
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on January 25, 2000
Alice in Wonderland is a classic that all young spirited people should read. It has adventure, love, fantasy, and a lot of fantastic nonsense. Every page is exciting and mysterious with a bewildering twist. Lewis Carrol exceeds on making a childerns story into a fantastic novel for all ages. He has great imagination that he uses in his puns, riddles, and characters to make nonsense into complete thoughts and morals. Alice is a creative little girl who seems to find adventure around every corner. Everybody in Wonderland is just as creative as Alice; they all seem to be intelligent and fully spirited. This novel is something no one wants to pass by. Personally, I suggest this book becomes a classic everyone should have to read. Many things in this book capture a moment, like this qoute,"The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: at last the Caterpillar took the Hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice. "Who are you?" said the Caterpillar. This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, "I-I hardly know, sir, just at present - at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times sice then." Another quote that stood out and will help choose this as your next book to read is from the cat. "In that directoin," The Cat said, waving its paw around, "lives a Hatter: and THAT direction," waving the other paw, "lives teh March Hare. Visit either you like: They're both mad." "But I dont want to go amoung mad people," Alice replied. "oh, you can't help that," said the Cat."we're all mad here. I am mad, You are mad."
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on January 5, 2000
I'm referring specifically to the Books of Wonder editions for this review (Alice: ISBN 0-688-11087-8, Looking-Glass: 0-688-12049-0, or together in a box: 0-688-12050-4). The books are elegantly presented: Alice with a gold color cover and gold gilt edges on all three sides, Looking-Glass with a silver cover and silver gilt edges on all three sides, and the box being in gold color and looking almost identical to the Alice volume. The books are printed on fairly thin, very smooth, and somewhat off-white paper -- the color of which I personally find detracts a little from the books. The books are identical in layout, typeface and illustrations to the original 1865 & 1872 Macmillan editions: the type has been reset and is thus perfectly crisp, the typeface (De Vinne) is a perfect match to the original typeface except the quote marks are a bit more spaced out than is usual. The text is otherwise a perfect match, with line breaks in identical places, etc. The speciality of these Books of Wonder editions is that the illustrations have been printed from the original woodblocks which had been sitting forgotten in a bank vault for many years. The books claim that "details never seen before are now visible", but I haven't been able to see evidence of this myself: the illustrations _are_ considerably cleaner and crisper, but I've not seen any extra details. On the down side, a number of the woodblocks had editing done on them when they were made, and over time these edited portions have clearly shrunk or no longer fit perfectly into the surrounding wood, so that the editing is much more clearly visible than on facsimiles of editions from 100 years ago. A nice pair of books, but I personally find the Macmillan facsimile editions to be much nicer to handle.
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