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JABBERWOCKY by Lewis Carroll Kirkus Star

JABBERWOCKY

By Lewis Carroll (Author) , Joel Stewart (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7636-2018-1
Publisher: Candlewick

It would be hard not to end up with an outstanding result when starting with such brilliant material as Carroll’s “Jabberwocky,” but Stewart’s mixed-media illustrations suit the wry humor of this nonsense poem so perfectly it’s hard to imagine it being interpreted as well by anyone else since Tenniel himself. The wide, thin-lipped visage of the Jabberwock is particularly reminiscent of Tenniel’s drawings and provides a tribute to the definitive illustrator of Carroll’s work. But there are many original touches, such as the clockwork inner workings of the beast and the imagining of what exactly things like “slithy toves,” “borogoves,” and “mome raths” are (here, various imaginary forest denizens, some of them birdlike, who relax in hammocks and play accordions). The dusky palette of tan, olive, dusty purple, pale blue, and brick red outlined in thin brown lends an antique feel, as does the pseudo-medieval costume worn by the boy as he hunts the “maxnome foe.” Far from being frightening, the Jabberwock is positively dapper in his top hat and high, stiff collar, and the fact that his insides are mechanical keeps his dismemberment from being gory. It’s helpful that the poem is printed in its entirety at the beginning, so readers and listeners can get their own imaginations started before digging in. This brilliantly original, yet respectful new rendering of an old favorite reminds those who’ve read it before of the infinite possibilities and pure fun in its interpretation, and will bring its delightful nonsense to a whole new audience. (Picture book. 4-8)