In Lewis Carroll's classic children's novel, Alice Little falls down a rabbit hole and emerges in a strange world. Here, she will find herself chasingIn Lewis Carroll's classic children's novel, Alice Little falls down a rabbit hole and emerges in a strange world. Here, she will find herself chasing a white rabbit, rapidly shrinking and growing, listening to the advice of a hooka smoking caterpillar, attending a mad tea party, and finally participating in a croquet match hosted by the murderous Queen of Hearts.
Alice in Wonderland is a classic children's book that I did not read while I was still in the intended audience. Instead, my main memories of the story will always be associated with the beautifully animated Disney movie of the same name. I was inspired to pick up the audiobook after listening to a podcast hosted by The History Chicks. While listening to the audiobook (which was quite shorter than expected, only about four hours long), I couldn't help but wonder how I would have reacted to the novel had I read it as a child. I suspect I would have become impatient with the rambling, aimless nature of the story, something which occasionally tried my patience as an adult. At the same time, I m sure I would have been more accepting of the nonsensical tone of the novel. As someone used for trying to find patterns and meaning in text, I at first found myself wondering what certain aspects of the novel were really about. It wasn't until about halfway through that I let myself just embrace the pure craziness of Alice's story, and accept it for what it was, a bizarre adventure starring a confused girl.
One thing that I did find interesting about this book was the ending (which I don't really consider a spoiler given how old this book is. If you are more sensitive then I am, best to skip this paragraph). Here, Alice wakes up and realizes that her adventures were a dream. As someone who has often been frustrated at the far too logical and linear appearance of dreams in books and other forms of popular media, I couldn't help but be impressed at it's presentation here. Alice in Wonderland is probably (to me at least) one of the more accurate depiction of dreams I've encountered: rambling and illogical with a habit of jumping from one topic to the next.
Alice and Wonderland is one of the most influential children's novel in the western world, and it's impact can be seen all over pop culture. Speaking as a modern reader experiencing the book for the first time, I found it to be an enjoyable little read. I suspect that I will read the second Alice book, Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found there, in the future....more
Sisters Elinor and Marianne Dashwood couldn't be any more different. Elinor is reserved and sensible, and Marianne is passionate and vocal. After theSisters Elinor and Marianne Dashwood couldn't be any more different. Elinor is reserved and sensible, and Marianne is passionate and vocal. After the death of their father, they find themselves suddenly penniless, as their older brother inherits everything. Sense and Sensibility is a story of sisterhood and romance, as well as a glimpse on what it was like to be a woman during the Regency Era. The graphic novel adapts Jane Austen's classic story into one slim volume.
Sense and Sensibility is a story that I have experienced in multiple ways: I have read the novel, listened to the audiobook, seen Emma Thompson's wonderful film version, and now I have read the graphic novel adaptation. Upon picking up the graphic version, I found myself somewhat skeptical that a sufficient adaptation could result from what's basically five issues of a comic book series. Fortunately, Jane Austen's wonderful novel remains pretty intact. The most significant changes are certain sequences that took places in letters in the novel now occur face to face. This makes sense, given the more visual medium. Although the result can feel a little jam packed at times (especially with all of those dialogue bubbles!) the result retains the integrity of the characters and the romance that the book is best known for.
One thing I really want to draw attention to is the artwork by Sonny Liew, who's work I was not familiar with up until this point. The art has a simple, sketchy, almost quirky style to it, with a subdued color pallet. I found that it to fit the Regency era (not to mention the Dashwood sister's grim situation) strangely well. There are some sequences where the characters are given large heads in an almost chibi-like manner. This effect proves to be humorous scenes involving Mrs. John Dashwood (Elinor and Marianne's stingy sister in law). Since Sense and Sensibility is such a character centric story that lacks much of the action one might expect to find in comics, it's important that the audience be able to understand their thoughts and emotions of the characters, through both body language and facial expression. This is something that Liew does well, or espeically when it comes to Elinor's carefully concealed pain.
Reading Sense and Sensibility in graphic form took me back to the first time I picked up the novel. It's hard not to feel for both sisters (even though I relate to Elinor much more than Marianne), and wish for the best in them as they fall in love and discover shocking truths about their potential suitors. One thing that's important to mention: if you have not read the book Sense and Sensibility beforehand, do not read the forward in this graphic version. It spoils pretty much every twist, assuming that most readers are already familiar with the story. I would recommend this version to fans of Jane Austen who want to see an old favorite story in a new light. ...more
Bilbo Baggins is a proper hobbit. He lives in his hobbit hole, and never goes on any adventures. That is until the day that a wizard andthirteen dwarvBilbo Baggins is a proper hobbit. He lives in his hobbit hole, and never goes on any adventures. That is until the day that a wizard andthirteen dwarves show up on his doorstep. Bilbo soon finds himself swept away on a hunt for treasure that will put him face to face with bloodthirsty trolls, wicked goblins, mysterious shapeshifters, and a magical golden ring that will change everything.
I first read The Hobbit at fifteen as part of a school assignment. In a way, it was the perfect time for me to be introduced to Middle Earth. The movie version of The Fellowship of the Ring was set to be released within the upcoming year. Tolkien fever had been sparked among the fantasy community, and I was quickly swept up in it. Ten years have passed, and with news of a Hobbit movie all over the internet, I determined it was time to reacquaint myself with an old favorite. I found that I didn't fall in love with the novel quite as thoroughly as the first time around, but I still found the book to be enjoyable.
One of my favorite things about The Hobbit (during both my first and second reading) is watching the development of Bilbo himself. With every challenge he grows as a character, changing from a slightly hapless hobbit to the brave hero of the novel right before your eyes. Another thing I appreciate is how Bilbo often defeats his enemies not through brute force, but cleverness and stealth. I think this makes very interesting scenes. A perfect example of this is the chapter Riddles in the Dark, where Bilbo out-riddles Gollum to keep himself from being killed and eaten. One thing that I didn't remember from my first read was how much humor could be found in the novel. One great example of this is when Bilbo first meets the dwarves, who manage to eat him out of house and home. I often found myself laughing aloud while listening to the audiobook.
Admittedly, I did have a few issues with this book that I don't remember having during my first read. I often found myself wishing that the thirteen dwarves had better defined personalities. With a couple exceptions, they all feel pretty interchangeable. I also felt that the book dragged at times. This was the most obvious when they were wandering through the wilderness. I was overwhelmed with all of the songs, and became a little annoyed with them. I am perfectly willing to admit that the reason I did not have any problems with these the first time is probably because I skimmed over them. While listening to an audiobook, you don't really have that option.
Rereading The Hobbit was a really good idea, despite the fact that I didn't love it as much as I did the first time. I listened to the audiobook this time around, and found that the narrator did a fantastic job with it. I was often surprised at how much his voice resembles the actors from The Lord of the Rings movies (especially with the character of Gandalf). With the upcoming movies on the horizon, I can't help but be curious at what the adaption will be like. Where will they decide to split the movie into two parts (good luck on that one)? How will the dwarves be portrayed? What will Smaug look like? I can't wait to see. ...more
**spoiler alert** Charlotte's Web is the classic tale of a pig named Wilbur. Born the runt of the litter, his life is first saved by the good heart of**spoiler alert** Charlotte's Web is the classic tale of a pig named Wilbur. Born the runt of the litter, his life is first saved by the good heart of a young girl, then later saved by the cleverness of a common gray spider. On the surface this is a happy book, filled with humor and important friendships. The passages that deal with Wilbur's life on the farm can be quite amusing, and the wide cast of animal characters are likable and fun to read about. As we get deeper into the story, we begin to learn that it has a more serious side. Wilbur worries that the farmer will kill him for meat in the winter time. Thanks to Charlotte, he survives, but the book does end on another death, the death of Charlotte. Due to the deep friendship that Wilbur has formed with her over the course of the book, this is a very painful scene. Still, Charlotte's Web is not only a story about death but also one about birth, as can be scene in the final chapter. Spring has arrived and animals are being born on the farm, including Charlotte's children. Although the portrayal of female characters may feel a little dated, there's plenty of Charlotte's Web to enjoy over fifty years after it's initial publication. It's easy to see why this tale of a friendship between a pig and a spider is considered a children's classic. The version I experienced was an audiobook narrated by EB White himself. Although he doesn't put as much energy and effort into creating voices as some audiobook narrators, White's matter of fact presentation of the story is clear and effective. Recommended Grade Level- 3-5 Genre- Animal Story...more
Peter Pan (also known as Peter and Wendy, or Peter Pan and Wendy) is the classic tale of the boy who never grew up. In the story, he whisks away threePeter Pan (also known as Peter and Wendy, or Peter Pan and Wendy) is the classic tale of the boy who never grew up. In the story, he whisks away three English children to a magical place called Neverland filled with pirates, mermaids, and lost boys On one level, Peter Pan is a satisfying adventure story filled with exciting sword fights and scenes of peril. This aspect can be enjoyed by all who read it, including children and adults. On another level, it's also a commentary on childhood, an innocent and fearless time where anything you imagine can become real, including fairies and flight. Peter's deep desire never to grow up, and to spend his entire life in the form of a child, will appeal to children who feel the same, and adults who are more wistful for that more carefree era. As the novel Peter Pan is now almost a hundred years old, it's written in a style that may be a little confusing to children in the initial chapters. By the time Peter, Wendy, John and Michael reach Neverland, this period of adjustment should be complete and the story should be easier to read. The edition I chose was filled with illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman, both black and white and color. They do a great job of enhancing the story. The illustrator does a great job giving detail and expression to the now iconic characters that grace the pages. The only complaint I have with the color pictures is that they're often inserted into the story several pages (or chapters) before the actual event takes place in the story, which may spoil future events.
Peter Pan is a novel that still has the power to entrance readers, almost a hundred years after it was first published. The only aspect that feels stale is it's portrayal of Tiger Lily and her tribe of Indians. Parents, upon giving the book to their children, may want to take some time to explain that the portrayal of American Indians is stereotypical and no longer considered correct. Recommended Grade Level- 3-5 (This review was written for a class)...more