“The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition,” by Lewis Carroll, Introduction and Notes by Martin Gardner, original illustrations by John Tenniel. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was originally published in 1865 and is still a very popular story and has three movie adaptations (1951, 2010 & 2016).

This beautiful version contains the original story “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” which the 1951 movie is based off of. It also has “Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There,” which is where the newest movie adaptation comes from. Both of these stories are accompanied by annotations that delve into Carroll’s influences and experiences as well as the psychology behind the story.

I got this book for Christmas (2015) so I’ve had some time to work through it. I found it difficult to read the story and the annotations at the same time. Instead I read the story and then skimmed through the notes. I’ve always loved this story and it was one of my favourite movies (1951) as a kid (it still is) so I found it interesting to read an analysis of the story. The story appears to be a lot of nonsense, but the analysis is so in depth that it makes all of the nonsense seem perfectly justified. For example, one note reads “Both Carroll and Tenniel apparently forget that a milk jug was on the table. We know this because later on in the tea party the Dormouse upsets it.” The annotations also make references to works by Plato in regards to dreaming and madness, as well as many other writings by Carroll.

Aside from the analysis, this is a great story which I think every kid should read. It also has really great pictures, which I’m sure the movie (1951) referenced as they share a strong resemblance. Would definitely recommend this book (or at least some version of it).


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