April 5, 2016

Best Alice in Wonderland Picture Books


Few stories have been illustrated in such creative ways than Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. John Tenniel's illustrations are classic and timeless (I consider them to be the best), but it's always fun to look at how other illustrators interpret the famous story of a girl whose boredom leads to the adventure of a lifetime. Carroll's text lends itself well to quirky, vibrant, and nonsensical illustrations, and I am excited to share my list of favorites.



Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Illustrated by Andrea D'Aquino

The design of Andrea D'Aquino's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is dead-on perfect, and if the cover somehow doesn't draw you in, the beautiful writing along the edges of the pages certainly will. D'Aquino's book opens with the infamous image of Alice's neck stretching up, but she adds her own flair to it as if to signal that what we are about to see is her personal spin on the story. D'Aquino's watercolor and collage illustrations are interspersed throughout the text, often taking up whole pages or spreads to emphasize events.





Illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova

Yelena Bryksenkova's leporello Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is designed so that readers can flip through the images like a book or expand it out like an accordion to follow the story of Alice more linearly. We get framed, hand-written text, as well as type-written text, at the bottom of each panel, both of which serve to narrate the story: the hand-lettering features direct quotes from Carroll's version, and the type-written text allows Bryksenkova to speed up the narrative through summary. The pen and acryla gouache illustrations have a vintage feel, with muted colors and lots of patterning, and they walk an impressive line between sweet and quirky.






Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Illustrated by Robert Sabuda

I have long, long been a fan of Robert Sabuda, and his pop-up adaptation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is absolutely incredible (so much so that I actually own it in multiple languages). Every spread features a large, colorful, and masterfully-crafted pop-up, with smaller, additional pages and pop-ups within each spread as well. Sabuda does a wonderful job of imitating Tenniel's original style in his illustrations, giving Sabuda's interpretation an authentic and respectful feel.



Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Illustrated by Camille Rose Garcia

Camille Rose Garcia's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is dark in tone and often color, giving Garcia the opportunity to truly explore the sinister side of Carroll's tale. Her illustrations range from small vignettes to whole spreads, with everything in-between, and Garcia fills her illustrations to the brim with text, objects, and colorful, dripping paints that enhance the feeling of despair and creepiness in the images. It's splotchy and messy and amazing.






Alice in Wonderland
Written by Alison Oliver and illustrated by Jennifer Adams

Alison Oliver and Jennifer Adams' board book Alice in Wonderland is clever and colorful, morphing this classic story into a concept/primer book. The best part of this book is the detail. Oliver manages to slip in small references throughout each image: the text might only say "brown hat," but we see the Mad Hatter, his tea cup, and the little bat, helping readers to understand that there's a larger story beyond just the text. These additions encourage discussion and position the book to be not only a primer for colors, but a primer for the larger Alice story in the future. Pretty brilliant!