Tag Archives: alice in wonderland

Imitation and Reinvention: Mad Hatters and March Hares and Kill the Farm Boy

12 Sep

Sometimes an author’s world and the words they wrote resonate so deeply that they live beyond the works themselves; there are many retellings of Alice in Wonderland and there are some especially terrific interpretations in the new collection edited by Ellen Datlow.  At other times authors may be inspired not by what stories in the past contained, but what the story leaves out. This is the case for the thoroughly modern fantasy Kill the Farm Boy by Kevin Hearne and Delilah S. Dawson which seeks to reinvent the genre with a modern sensibility.

Mad Hatters and March Hares: All New Stories from the World of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland
edited by Ellen Datlow

Mad Hatters and March Hares is a collection of stories based on not only characters from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and it’s sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass, but many also involve the book and the real people associated with stories like Alice Lidell since the tale of the writing of the books often seems as intriguing to readers and authors as the story itself. The story “Worrity, Worrity” by Andy Duncan takes a surrealistic look at why John Tenniel might have dissuaded Carroll from featuring a certain illustration.  Like the nonsense rhyme that filled originals, the collection begins and ends with two poems, the first of which “Gentle Alice” by Kris Dikeman is in the shape of a teacup reflecting the concrete poetry Carroll used in his own work.  Two of my favorite fantasy authors Catherynne M. Valente and Seanan McGuire have excellent stories included;  McGuire’s “Sentence Like a Saturday” was my favorite of the collection and looks at what happens when a certain Kitty enters the “real” world.  I found it interesting that on the whole the stories were dark fantasy and some in the horror genre reflecting the menace that can be seen just below the surface in the original with characters like the threatening Red Queen and Jabberwocky.  You can read about more Alice in Wonderland related books and movies in a previous blog post.

Kill The Farm Boy: The Tales Of Pell
by Kevin Hearne and Delilah S. Dawson
This novel, according to an authors’ note, started as a conversation between Hearne and Dawson in an airport about the need to “kill the farm boy” which they feel represents the cliche of the white young male who lives in a rural area and finds out he is the “chosen one” and goes on to be the center of many adventures. White males can be pretty awesome and many deserve hero status, my dad, husband, and son are all examples of that, but there is definitely room especially in the fantasy realm for more diversity.  This novel made me think of many fantasy novels I’ve read especially the Once and Future King with its interpretation of the Arthur legend.  The novel starts out with the typical farm boy, but he meets an unfortunate accident that keeps him unable to continue his quest and instead the main story focuses on a variety of adventurers including a dark skinned female warrior and her newly met romantic interest a bard who is herself under a spell so that she has rabbit like features.  There were some bits where Kill the Farm Boy had me laughing out loud and it was very original with some of the directions that it took the adventurers in while skewing dated cliches of typical fantasy novels of the past as well as our contemporary society.  The novel manages to be more than just a parody and I hope the fun and original characters of Pell have many more adventures in store for readers.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Reference

Celebrate Alice in Wonderland’s 150th Birthday with 16 Wonderful Choices from Hoopla!

22 Jul

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was first published by Lewis Carroll (mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) in 1865.  Since then it has been the inspiration for many novels, comic books, movies, video games, music, art, and even a line of perfumes!  Earlier this year we had a display of Alice collectibles and graphic novel concept art by a local Hoboken artist on display.  But what better way to continue to celebrate than with checking out both Carroll’s original story as well as the many adaptations available.  Whether you are looking for something light and whimsical or something dark and scary there are a variety of choices for teens, adults, and kids.

And you can also celebrate that the Hoboken Public Library and other BCCLS libraries are now doubling the amount of items you can borrow each month from HooplaNow instead of just 8, you have 16 Hoopla checkouts a month and in addition to TV shows, movies, audiobooks, and music you now also can check out eBooks including graphic novels and comics!

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland 

Available both as an eBook and several audiobook versions this is the perfect time to go online and check out the classic work.

Through the Looking-Glass 

Carroll continued Alice’s adventures in Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. Set several months after the original novel, this work features the Carroll’s famous Jabberwocky poem and introduced Alice to Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

Alice’s Adventures Under Ground: Being a facsimile of the original manuscript book afterwards developed into Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland 
Alice in Wonderland is based on a story Lewis Carroll told to the children of a colleague and a family friend.  See how it all started with the original story Charles Lutwidge Dodgson’s wrote down for the real life Alice (Liddell).

Alice – 1988

This experimental masterpiece by Czech Animator, Jan Svankmajer, is a mixture of stop motion and live action.  The white rabbit is a taxidermied bunny who comes alive and slowly leaks saw dust as Alice chases him into a very surreal Wonderland.  This movie is a must see for adult Alice fans, but may be frightening for young children.

Alice In Wonderland – 1949

The 1949 stop motion classic is much more child friendly and more faithful to the original source material. It also draws connections between the real life people that may have inspired Carroll’s novel.  I prefer Svankmajer version, but this is the one I’d show my son.

The Initiation of Alice In Wonderland: The Looking Glass Of Lewis Carroll
My husband, who loves a good conspiracy theory, enjoyed this documentary which attempts to take a deeper look at what might be behind Carroll’s literary works.

The Looking Glass Wars, Audiobook by Frank Beddor

Frank Beddor dramatically reinterprets Carroll’s story.  Alyss Heart is thrown out of Wonderland by her Aunt Redd and while living in Oxford tells her story to Charles Dodgson, but he got a lot of details wrong about what actually happened.  This Young Adult novel also has appeal to adult fans of fantasy.

Beyond Wonderland Issues #0-5, by Raven Gregory

If you enjoy the darker interpretations of Wonderland such as the American McGee’s Alice video game, than you might be interested in this horror graphic novel, the second in an Alice inspired trilogy.  Also available are two other Wonderland graphic novels and several volumes of dark interpretation of Grimm Fairy Tales from the infamous Zenoscope Entertainment.  They are recommended for adult audiences only.

Alice In Wonderland, Part of the Classics Illustrated Series Issue #49 

For those looking for a more faithful and child friendly graphic novel adaptations check out the Classics Illustrated Series which adapted Alice in Wonderland in issue #49 and Through The Looking-Glass in Issue #147.  Other works adapted include everything from The War of the Worlds to Les Miserables.

Alice In Wonderland – 1933

The 1933 live-action fantasy features Silver Screen icons including Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, and W.C. Fields.

Alice in Wonderland – 2014

For a more recent live-action version, check out this film with Whoopi Goldberg as the Cheshire Cat and Martin Short as the Mad Hatter.

Alice in Wonderland – 1995

For those looking for a fun animated version for the children, check out this 1995 film from Toshiyuki Hiruma Takashi.

Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, Original Soundtrack 

Disney’s was the first version of Alice I encountered and still one of my favorites.  I have many happy memories of bouncing around my parent’s living room with my sister as we played the soundtrack to the film again and again.  Now I can share “The Unbirthday Song” with my own little one.

Alice in Wonderland, Soundtrack of music by Danny Elfman 

I recently was lucky enough to see Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton when it was being performed at Lincoln Center.  It is hard to think of Burton’s films without having Elfman’s music playing in your head and his signature style is a perfect match for Wonderland.  Currently Elfman is at work on the soundtrack for the film’s sequel.  Written to accompany ballet, Herbert Baumann: Alice In Wonderland is another auditory interpretation of Carroll’s classic work available on Hoopla.

SplinteredAudiobook by A. G. Howard

Sixteen year old Alyssa is a descendant of Alice Liddell.  Her mom has been institutionalized and she herself is struggling with hearing flowers speaking to her.  When she finds her way to Wonderland she must question everything she knows.  Also available are the next two audiobooks in the series: Ensnared and Unhinged.  They are recommended by School Library Journal for grades 8 and up.

Death Of A Mad Hatter, Audiobook by Jenn McKinlay 

This cozy mystery features two cousins who own a ladies’ hat shop who must create the perfect chapeaus for an Alice in Wonderland-themed fundraiser tea party.  When a hat they created has traces of poison used to kill one of the party’s hosts, the ladies must don their thinking caps.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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