Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, written by Lewis Carroll, was published in 1865 and has been loved by British children since then. The story with fantastical tales and riddles became one of the most famous works of English-language fiction. It was beautifully illustrated by British artist John Tenniel.
The story’s major character is Alice, a young girl that
falls asleep in a meadow, dreaming that she follows the White Rabbit down a
rabbit hole. She has a lot of wondrous, often bizarre adventures with very illogical
and strange creatures, often unexpectedly changing size (she shrinks to 3
inches and grows as tall as a house).
She encounters the Duchess (with a baby that becomes a
pig), the hookah-smoking Caterpillar,
and the Cheshire Cat, and also attends a strange endless tea party with the
March Hare and the Mad Hatter. Then she plays a croquet game with uncooperative
hedgehogs for croquet balls and an unmanageable flamingo for a croquet mallet when
the Queen calls for the execution of almost everyone present. Later, at the behest
of the Queen, the Gryphon takes her to meet the sobbing Mock Turtle that describes
his education in subjects like Ambition, Uglification, Distraction, and
Derision. Alice is then considered as a witness in the trial of the Knave of
Hearts, who has been accused of having stolen the tarts of the Queen. Luckily,
when the Queen demands that Alice be beheaded, she awakens from her dream after
realizing that the characters are only a pack of cards.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was originally told by Carroll to Alice, Edith, and Lorina Liddell (the three daughters of Henry George Liddell, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, where Carroll had studied) on a picnic in 1862. Alice asked him to write out the stories for her, and then he produced a hand-lettered collection named Alice’s Adventures Under Ground. A guest visiting the Liddell family saw the collection and thought that it should be published, so Carroll revised and expanded it. Although the book at first baffled critics, it then attracted a following and by the end of the 19th century, it had become Britain’s most popular book for children, and within two more decades, it was one of the world’s most popular storybooks.