Friday 11 December 2015

Down The Rabbit Hole!

macmillan alice

This year marks the 150th Anniversary of the publication of Alice in Wonderland. Macmillan have a fabulous celebration website here. There have been events going on all over the UK [and quite a lot in the USA too, where they seem quite obsessed with AIW]

I should like to get to the exhibition at the British Library – it opened on November 20th and runs through till April 17th 2016. It is FREE!


I was really pleased this week to pick up the book “Everything Alice” from our local library. By Hannah Read-Baldrey and Christine Leech [who developed the Hobbycraft magazine] this book has more than 50 projects related to the book – clothes, toys, teaparty accessories, recipes, gifts – using lots of different crafts and skills.

everything alice-001

For the most part the instructions are very clear, the templates at the back are useful, and there are wonderfully intricate papercut illustrations on the pages between the projects. An altogether delightful and inspiring read.

I think the projects I would most like to make from the book are the sugar and spice comfits, the Red King’s Slippers, and the Cheshire Cat Handwarmers.


My own copy of Alice is over 80 years old- it was won by my father just after his 9th birthday, in 1933, as a prize for getting 98% in a Sunday School Scripture exam, as it says on the flyleaf…


It is published by Ward Lock, rather than Macmillan – and the illustrations are not by Tenniel, but by that other great children’s artist, Margaret W Tarrant. I love its heavy pages and pictures.


Just twenty miles from here, in Lyndhurst, you can find the grave of Alice Liddell – the girl for whom Carroll wrote the story. I remember taking our girls to see it, more than 20 years ago, when we had a holiday in the New Forest. The grave has been restored during this  anniversary year. I must get back and have another look.


I made costumes for two school productions of Alice – it remains one of my favourite children’s books [along with Through The Looking Glass] I enjoy the word-play, and the arcane mathematical puzzles – it is so much more than a book for 9 year olds. Here are the stamps the Royal Mail brought out last January to mark the anniversary.


Did you read Alice as a child? Did you enjoy it?


  1. I did indeed read Alice as a child and my daughter who had blonde hair and blue eyes went to school aged about 6 dressed as Alice in a blue dress and a white pinafore I made for Book Day once I remember and made a perfect Alice. We lived in Guildford at that time where Carroll had bought a house for his sisters and which he visited often and spent the last years of his life. He is buried in Guildford and there are numerous sculptures to do with Alice around the town.

  2. Another one on my "books I will read one day" list.

  3. I was bought 'The complete works of Lewis Carroll as a child so I loved it!!! Esp the Cheshire puss!!x

  4. What a tremendously lovely post! I loved every word and would dearly love getting to the exhibition...I adore the British Library. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  5. I'm looking forward to reading it with the girls when D is a little older. They both adore the original Disney version. I would love to find a copy like yours to read to them from too
    X x


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