The Annotated Alice
Lewis Carroll, 1865; Martin Gardner, 1960
Reading this version opens up Alice's wit and humor. Gardner’s notes are lucid and illuminating, if occasionally a bit dense (you can skip over some), but without his help, it's almost impossible for any of us today to be in on the jokes.
His opening introduction offers a fascinating, though slightly disturbing, portrait of Charles Dodgson (Carroll’s real name). Dodgson was a strange duck, very strange, and reading about his fascination with young girls somewhat colored my reading of his tales. You might want to save the intro for later, but do read it.
More than anything, however, Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass are just plain fun to read. And this annotated version deserves a spot on everyone’s bookshelf, children's and adults' alike.
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