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Lewis Carroll and "Alice in Wonderland"

Impossible events and nonsensical creatures fill Lewis Carroll's poetry.
Impossible events and nonsensical creatures fill Lewis Carroll's poetry.
Sterling Publishing

The remake of the "Alice in Wonderland" movie, based on the Lewis Carroll novel, has opened in Chicago and prompted much discussion. While the 3D visuals are mostly highly praised some of the critics find this version has too many scary situations and violence for young children.  For young children,instead of the movie, introduce them to Carroll's poetry. For the children who do see the movie, with their interest already sparked, this is a good opportunity to continue on with Carroll's other prose and poetry.

Poetry for young people.

"Lewis Carroll" part of the series "Poetry for Young People" published by Sterling is a great resource that contains selections from his classic works, including some from"Alice in Wonderland".  The short introduction in the beginning of the book contains interesting biographical information about  Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, whose pseudonym was Lewis Carroll. Children will find the two sides of Carroll interesting:  his serious side as a mathematician at Oxford University in England and his imaginative side that allowed him to write books and poetry filled with crazy improbable creatures and events. 

The introduction recounts that Carroll spontaneously created the story of "Alice's' Adventures Under Ground" (the original title of "Alice in Wonderland" in 1862 when he created it) while having a picnic on the River Thames with the Dean of Christ Church and his three daughters.  One of the daughters, Alice Liddell, ten years old at the time, asked to him write the story down.  He finally did, illustrated it himself and gave the copy to Alice. Children have always loved to hear a good story!

The imaginary world of poetry.

This book contains  twenty-six of Carroll's poems. It includes "Tweedledum and Tweedledee" , the poem Alice thinks of when she meets these characters in "Through the Looking Glass" and "The White Rabbit's Evidence" from the trial scene in "Alice in Wonderland".  The fantastical people, animals and events make children's imaginations soar and will present many teaching opportunities.  Where is your wonderland?  What kind of people and creatures would live there?

"Lewis Carroll" is edited by Edward Mendelson and contains imaginative full-color illustrations by Eric Copland.

The reading level is for ages 9-12.

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  • Robert D. Sutherland 5 years ago

    When Charles Lutwidge Dodgson spontaneously composed the story of "Alice's Adventures Underground"for Alice Liddell and her two sisters on a rowing trip in 1862, Alice's father, Dean Liddell of Christ Church, Oxford, was not with them (as the article erroneously states). The other adult was Robinson Duckworth.

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