Thursday, November 7, 2013

Alice Through the Looking Glass, adapted and illustrated by Emma Chichester-Clark, originally written by Lewis Carroll (HarperCollins Children's Books)

Alice through the Looking Glass

Adapted and Illustrated by
Emma Chichester-Clark
Originally written by Lewis Carroll
Published by
HarperCollins Children's Books

Here's a fantastic book that fits in rather nicely with our #ReadItMD13 theme week about fantasy realms.

Having loved Emma Chichester-Clark's recent collaboration with Michael Morpurgo, bringing "Pinocchio" to a whole new audience, I heartily approve of more fantastic classics being given new life by one of the most talented children's illustrators in the world.

For me, Alice Through The Looking Glass has always been the 'darker' side of Alice in Wonderland. I remember we covered both "Alice in Wonderland" and "Alice Through the Looking Glass" at school and there being a heated classroom debate about what happened to Messr. Dodson between the two books!

Emma Chichester-Clark's masterful adaptation has given Charlotte a point of reference to a book that would, otherwise, have been off her radar for quite a few years. She knows who Alice is (though mostly knows the Disney version of "Alice in Wonderland") so having a thoroughly modern Alice in this version of Through the Looking Glass has been awesome.

Here too are the supporting cast of characters, rendered in Emma's fabulous style, given more depth and dimension than Disney could manage. Charlotte loved that she could more wholly relate to Emma's Alice, and felt that the blending of old and new here - for instance, some of the more contemporary touches the book uses to lend it that approachability for this generation's children really sit well compared to a reading of the original Carroll text.

As you'd expect, the visual richness of the story's illustrations helps bucketloads (though naturally I love the original ink drawings in both Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through The Looking Glass - they were a tough sell to Charlotte). A vibrant colourful world, with The Queen of Hearts, the Mad Hatter, The Mad March Hare and the Walrus and The Carpenter taking centre stage as Alice once again finds herself embroiled in the surreal dream-like world of Wonderland.

The darkness isn't as prevalent perhaps, and that's likely to be a blessing for a version aimed at Charlotte's generation who shouldn't miss out on classics purely because of tone or composition feeling slightly outdated. Here though, "Through the Looking Glass" is rainbow-hued and utterly fabulous. Wonderful work, Emma!

"Alice Through the Looking Glass" is out tomorrow, 7th November from HarperCollins Children's Books.

Charlotte's best bit: Alice as Queen, all little girls should get that chance (says she!)

Daddy's Favourite bit: I loved the original but I have to say, this has impressed the socks off me - taking a fairly dark and in some ways fairly unapproachable (for some) children's classic and turning it into something that feels fresh, vibrant and full of colour. Lovely!

(Kindly sent to us for review by HarperCollins Children's Books)

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