This fantasy adventure novel by Lewis Carroll was written for ages 8 and up. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
When Alice follows the White Rabbit down a rabbit hole, she finds herself in a land where she can change her size. She meets a Duchess with a pig for a baby, a Cook that throws spoons, a wise but mad Cheshire cat, the March Hare, Mad Hatter and a Dormouse. A Caterpillar shows her how to adjust her height by eating from the right and left sides of a mushroom.
With that knowledge, Alice is able to enter a beautiful garden to play croquet with the Queen of Hearts. This game of croquet is played with flamingos (mallets), balls (curled-up hedgehogs) and an army of bent-over cards (arches). As the living croquet game continually changes, the Queen has most of her guests arrested but introduces Alice to a Gryphon and Mock Turtle. By the end, almost everyone she meets ends up in a courtroom where the King of Hearts wants a verdict before the evidence, jurors pay attention to all the wrong information, witnesses are threatened with punishment and Alice grows tall enough not to be intimidated by a pack of cards, which is what the court and soldiers are. Suddenly Alice wakes up and realizes that her entire adventure was an amazing dream.
Strengths … well, it gets a few points for being unusual. But that’s what you get for writing about a dream. It did capture the surreal nature of dreams fairly well. Well enough that I figured out it was only a dream. Weaknesses … well, since it’s only a dream, I really didn’t get too invested in the story. I found it kind of dull. Alice’s thoughts were interesting and did seem child-like, so that’s another testament to the author’s skill. The events in the story and the story itself were child-safe—not dark at all from what I could tell.
Anyway, I’ll give it 4 out of five stars.