Happy Birthday, Alice

Some children’s stories stand the test of time because they are straightforward or simple tales. Others because the characters are so easy to love. Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, which celebrates its 150th anniversary tomorrow, is neither of these and yet it is a perennial favourite, reprinted and reimagined year after year.

Cover of Alice's adventures in wonderlandCovr of Alice's adventures in wonderlandAlice in wonderlandCover of Alice's adventures in wonderland

In some ways it is an unlikely children’s classic, this convoluted tale of a lost and bewildered child encountering a succession of bizarre and often menacing characters and situations. Or is it? Is that, in fact, exactly what childhood is like? An ongoing battle to make sense of the world, and the strange people in it?

Cover of Alice's adventures in wonderlandCover of The annotated AliceCover of Alice's Adventures in WonderlandCover of Alice's adventures in wonderland and Through the looking glass

I’m not the only one who thinks Alice’s adventures in Wonderland is something of a riddle. There have been almost as many books written about Lewis Carroll (aka Charles Dodgson) and the genesis of his Alice books as there have been reprints of the stories themselves. Something about them resonates.

Cover of The Alice behind WonderlandCover of The story of AliceCover of The mystery of Lewis CarrollCover of The selected letters of Lewis Carroll

Alice, it would seem, is the Mona Lisa of children’s literature – endlessly fascinating and ripe for reinterpretation.

Cover of Alice in ZombielandCover of Alice in the country of clover, knight's knowledge 1Cover of SplinteredCover of Through the zombie glass

If you’re interested in reacquainting yourself with Alice, Wonderland, and her adventures there we’ve got plenty of books to choose from.

Also our friends at Auckland Libraries have put together a splendid resource showcasing images from their rare editions of the Alice books.

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