Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking Glass

Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking Glass

Angelica Shirley Carpenter
For ages 12 and up
Lerner, 2002   ISBN: 978-0822500735

Today the characters and stories created by Lewis Carroll are so much a part of children’s literature that it is hard to imagine what it would be like not to have Alice, the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, the Red Queen and the others in our lives. The books “Alice in Wonderland” and “Alice Through the Looking Glass” changed children’s literature for ever for these titles showed the world that children’s books need not be pedantic and moralistic. Instead, children’s books could be fun, entertaining, and fantastical. Lewis Carroll, or Charles Dodgson, also demonstrated that children could appreciate and enjoy the rich and creative language which became his specialty.

The son of a clergyman, Charles Dodgson went to Oxford University where he did well enough that he became a permanent fixture in his college. Charles taught students mathematics, he did some writing, he took lots of photographs, and he made friends with children. One of these children was Alice Liddell for whom Charles created and then wrote down “Alice in Wonderland.” Having grown up with lots of younger brothers and sisters, Charles got on well with children and loved telling them stories. Since he did not get married and have children of his own, Charles would “borrow” the children of his friends and he was both generous and kind to his young companions. There can be no doubt that Charles would be delighted to know that his books still charm children today, more than one hundred years after the story was first published.

This is an excellent account of one of the world’s most famous and most beloved writers. The author not only tells Charles’ story but she also discusses some of the controversies which swirled around Charles Dodgson both during and after his lifetime.