Judging A Book By Its Cover: Alice In Wonderland

Time for another look at some of the books I can’t stop buying various copies of! This time I chose two tiny ones from my Alice collection, both given to me by my dear friend Melissa.

Left: A Canterbury Classics edition edited by Florence Milner, illustrated by F.Y. Cory. Rand McNally & Company, 1902. At the end of the book there’s an “Easter greeting to every child who loves Alice” written by Carroll in 1876. There’s also a biography on Carroll and some notes on the text. At the very end there’s a section called “Suggestion to Teachers” that advises when “reading any masterpiece, the first care of the teacher should be not to get between author and child.” It reminds teachers that Carroll understood and wrote for children, so they must be allowed to experience this book in their own way and they will be more likely to imagine and understand what’s going on. I particularly enjoy the closing paragraph:

“The difficulty will arise, not in talking down to the child, but in thinking up to him. Let the spirit of the child lead you; then he will love the book and will read it over and over again, laughing the wholesome laughter that has no sting in it and learning countless things about animals, language, human nature, and the spirit of gentleness.”

Right: Inscribed on the front page is “To Bernadine with love from Aunt Mollie.” One of Macmillan’s Pocket American and English Classics, edited “for school use” by Charles A. McMurry and illustrated by John Tenniel. Macmillan Company, 1905. This edition opens with a preface from Carroll written in 1896 then goes on to a background on the author. The next section is “Poems Misquoted by Alice” and it made me smile. It explains that some of the poems Alice attempts to reference may not be familiar to American children and the correct versions are given.

4 thoughts on “Judging A Book By Its Cover: Alice In Wonderland

  1. Oh wow, those are beautiful editions! It must be so fun to compare the illustrations from one version to the other. This totally makes me want to go track down some copies for myself! 😛

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