From Publishers Weekly
This slick version of the classic nonsense poem from Through the Looking Glass seems more a Disney souvenir than a book to snuggle up with. Angular textural sketches, apparently rough drafts for an animated feature (many possess a Fantasia -like sensibility), are set against an overpowering black background that negates the tale's playfulness. Multiple frames on several pages make the (rather feeble) scenario difficult to follow, while the fabled, fearsome beast is here only silly--with its beaky, birdish head atop a caterpillary cover, it resembles a Chinese New Year parade's dragon or a Mardi Gras costume. When the victorious hero goes "galumphing back" with only the Jabberwock's head, youngsters may not realize that the weird animal is actually slain. Overall, this repackaging appears devoid of personality, and doesn't do justice to the comical original. These mome raths and mimsy borogroves deserve better. All ages.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 4-Carroll's classic nonsense poem gets a fresh visual interpretation here. In a series of spreads, a child mounts his quest for the fearsome Jabberwock in an "other" world in keeping with the delicious unknown conjured up on first hearing, "'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves-." After a glimpse of the hero, the real world shows up in the form of facing oval frames-one containing the poem, the other a Victorian father-and-son read-aloud scene. But from then on, with a few lines of the poem per page, children enter a spare landscape of rattan-printed trees, postage-stamp-sized art, and full-color ink-and-watercolor creatures whose simple, almost cartoonish look echoes Edward Lear's comic sketches. The uncluttered composition of these pages leaves plenty of room for Carroll's words to do their work. Printed in uppercase, in a faintly rune-ish serif typeface, they gyre and gimble, whiffle and burble cleanly across the page. Stewart has not paid precise attention to Humpty Dumpty's explication of the poem as it originally appears in Through the Looking-Glass, but he has captured that wordmeister's affinity for conglomeration and arbitrary meaning, creating his own odd creatures to inhabit Carroll's perfect peculiarities. The slightly removed tone is maintained by a climactic twist: when the vorpal blade snicker-snacks "through and through," the beast's innards are revealed to be mechanical-clockwork springs and gears. Other illustrated editions worth considering-Graeme Base's (Abrams, 1989) signature packed pages or Jane Breskin Zalben's (Warne, 1977; o.p.) delicately detailed watercolors-hew more closely to Humpty Dumpty's definitions, but this new version is a good choice for a younger audience, nicely conveying the lighthearted mysteriousness of the poem.
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Nancy Palmer, The Little School, Bellevue, WA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.