Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Alice in Wonderland adapted from Lewis Caroll's original by Susie Linn and Alexandra Ball (Top That Publishing)

In this 150th Anniversary year of Lewis Caroll's classic story, there are a dizzying array of different versions of the story currently available. Let's take a look at one of the nicest we've seen in a long time...

Adapting and abridging a classic children's story is quite a tricky business. Remove too much of the original, and something magical is lost. Make it too wordy, and younger children won't be able to readily engage with it.

Then there's that whole 'Disneyfication' thing where you've got to try and come up with a version of a story that Disney have produced a treatment of, that is as far distanced from their shiny cartoon version as possible.

We have seen a lot of adaptations of Lewis Caroll's classic "Alice in Wonderland", some that purposely retain the entire original text but feature illustrations by contemporary artists but Susie Linn and Alexandra Ball have come up with a version that is absolutely perfect for younger children and reads aloud beautifully.

It also has some of the most fantastic artwork we've seen in an "Alice" book. Alexandra's versions of the characters successfully perform the neat trick of being instantly recognisable and yet truly unique (Alexandra's art style is utterly glorious, as you can see from our cover shot above).

You're probably all very familiar with the story of young daydreamy Alice who spots a white rabbit dashing around, and decides to follow him - straight into a deep dark and seemingly endless hole. This is just the start of Alice's adventures in Wonderland, and the White Rabbit is just one of the fascinating characters she meets on her perilous journey back to the 'real' world.

Susie's version of the story is lyrical and entertaining, and (thankfully) ditches a good chunk of the slightly waffly and plummy dialogue of the original while still successfully retaining the classic scenes that childrens and adults are all familiar with (including, of course, the most famous tea party in history!)

Charlotte absolutely loved this version, though we've often lost track when reading the original. It's a fantastic introduction to Alice's wonderful world and a fitting title to get a whole new generation hooked on Lewis Carroll's stories in this Anniversary year.

Charlotte's favourite bit: The crazy mad hatter's tea party, always brilliant in any version of the story but particularly excellent here.

Daddy's favourite bit: The perfect adaptation of Lewis Carroll's classic tale for little ones to begin their journey of discovery with. Fabulous stuff!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Top That Publishing)

"Alice in Wonderland"

Adapted by Susie Linn

Illustrated by Alexandra Ball

Published by Top That Publishing

Release Date (Paperback): 1st August 2015