Celebrations of Alice’s 150th birthday continue this week on Library Mice with two round-ups of Alice in Wonderland books available (many of those featured in my posts on the Many Faces of Alice in Wonderland). Today I will focus on those published by Macmillan, the original publisher of the book and publisher of Tenniel’s Alice.
Check Alice in Wonderland 150 for some great information about the books its different designs and its author, including a fascinating section on the colours of Alice’s dress!
Also well worth checking out is the manuscript of the precursor to Alice In Wonderland, Alice Underground, which has been in the possession of the British Library since 1948 and is available to read in its entirety online on the British Library’s website here.
Original texts by Lewis Carroll
This is the ‘definitive Alice’, which includes all of Alice’s books with full-colour illustrations from Sir John Tenniel. A stunning gift edition which will last a lifetime, and includes a special introduction by Philip Pullman.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
This edition is part of the Macmillan Classics collection, a collection of hardback books which feature several other classics of children’s literature. This edition includes black and white illustrations by Sir John Tenniel, as well as sixteen plates coloured by John Macfarlane. With a foreword by Hilary McKay, herself a fan of Alice, this is a great edition for more confident readers.
This tiny little tome is a reproduction of a book first published in 1907. It was adapted by Lewis Carroll for “very little folks”, as the title page explains. It is a sixth of the length of the original book and contains thirty-two full colour illustrations from Tenniel. With beautiful gold edged pages, this is a lovely edition which will delight collectors.
The Nursery Alice
Another beautiful gold edged page hardback book, with a lovely cover by E. Gertrude Thomson, this book has a real vintage feel and look. Suggested by Lewis Carroll himself to Macmillan in 1881, it was first published in 1890 and adapted by Carroll to appeal to ounger children. This present edition is a faithful reproduction of the original, as the author intended. Though this might be a bit heavy-going for ‘nursery’ children of today, this is nonetheless a beautiful edition which will make a lovely gift for young and old, and again will delight collectors of all things Alice.
This brightly coloured and jovial board book uses tabs and other interactive elements to bring to life Alice’s story and introduce its main protagonists. The book is beautifully designed, the pages sturdy and the illustrations are seriously cute (it is lovely to see French illustrator Colonel Moutarde being published in the UK). The text flows and rhymes and though this is a lovely first introduction to Alice, it is also simply a charming board book for toddlers.
If you have not come across Eric Puybaret’s work before, his beautiful take on Alice’s adventures is your opportunity to remedy to this oversight. The book itself only covers the first few chapters of the original tale and mixes quotes from the original text and more modern turns of phrase, while using a variety of font and sizes to punctuate the text. Undoubtedly the artwork is the real draw of this book, with a blonde and almost frail looking Alice, light as a feather, finding her way across a Wonderland which Puybaret has created as a truly magical, fantastical yet sophisticated place thanks to his stunning double-spread landscapes. His dreamlike illustrations burst with colour and demand close-up instigation from its readers. Each drawing oozes calm and elegance; even the White Rabbit looks rather calm! The last page alludes to a tea party awaiting Alice, as does the map included at the very end; with such an abrupt ending, might there soon be more ?
Includes a CD of the story read by Joanne Froggatt
You can buy these books here.
Source: review copies from publisher