A much-abridged version of the classic’s first five chapters, dressed up with large and properly surreal illustrations.
Rhatigan and Nurnberg retain “Curiouser and curiouser!” and other select bits of the original while recasting the narrative in various sizes of type and a modern-sounding idiom: “Tiny Alice needed something special to eat to get back to her regular girl size.” They take Carroll’s bemused young explorer past initial ups and downs and her encounter with a certain (here, nonsmoking) Blue Caterpillar. Looking more to Disney than Tenniel, Puybaret casts Alice as a slender figure with flyaway corn-silk hair and big, blue, widely spaced eyes posing with balletic grace against broadly airbrushed backdrops. Leafless trees and barren hills give Wonderland an open, autumnal look. The odd vegetation adds an otherworldly tone, and compact houses and residents from the White Rabbit and the Dodo to occasional troupes of mice or other small creatures in circus dress are depicted with precise, lapidary polish. A marginally relevant endpaper map (partly blocked by the flaps) leads down the River of Tears, past a turnoff for a Bathroom and on toward “the Tea Party.”
Pretty, though as condensations go, less Wonder-full than Robert Sabuda’s pop-up Alice (2003) or the digital Alicewinks (2013). (Picture book. 5-8)