From School Library Journal
Grade 2 Up–In this delightful companion to Oxenbury's illustrated version of Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Candlewick, 1999), Alice now wears black tights and a white long-sleeved shirt to suit the winter setting (Without, the frost, the blinding snow,/The storm-wind's moody madness–/Within, the firelight's ruddy glow,/And childhood's nest of gladness). Leaving the cozy room behind, she steps through the looking glass and into a world depicted in warm watercolors, sepia-toned illustrations, and line drawings. Not a word of the original tale has been altered. The artwork echoes the whimsy of the language, clearly showing Alice's amusement at the antics of Tweedledum and Tweedledee, her frustration at the impossibility of slicing a Looking-glass cake, her affection for the gentle White Knight, and her exasperation when both the White and the Red Queen fall asleep snuggled against her. The large font and numerous illustrations, including many single- and double-page paintings, make this edition inviting for reading aloud or alone. The artwork has an engaging openness to it, and Alice comes across as a real child, making it easy for readers to imagine themselves exploring the wonders of this make-believe realm.–Joy Fleishhacker,School Library Journal
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*Starred Review* Gr. 4-7. Oxenbury won the Kate Greenaway Medal for her illustrated edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1999), and she continues her splendid interpretation with this companion title. Once again, Oxenbury contributes small, black-and-white drawings and full-page watercolors, and her subtle use of color and shade adds layers of meaning to the story. The kings and queens of the chessboard seem vibrantly alive, all grand gestures and magnificently haughty expressions, yet Oxenbury reinforces the notion that they are still only game pieces by painting them in monochromatic shades of either red or white (indicating their home side of the chess board), unlike other characters, such as the charmingly rendered Humpty Dumpty, who appear in vivid full color. In many images, the sturdy line sketches appear within richly dimensional watercolor worlds, and the juxtaposition of both in the same scene, like the coloring of the chess pieces, calls attention to Carroll's own playful jumble of solid, real-world elements (chess pieces, kittens, Alice herself) and delicious, wholly imagined fantasy. But children certainly won't need to look for deeper significance in the pictures to enjoy the wild adventures. Young and old alike will easily embrace Oxenbury's Alice, who seems both old-fashioned and modern, and comfortable in worlds on both sides of the mirror. Gillian Engberg
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