Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Alice in Wonderland, two illustrator's perspectives

I love looking at different versions of the same story, each interpreted by a different author and/or illustrator and ultimately deciding which parts of each story I like best. It's fun to compare and contrast, especially when the book is something truly popular, as Alice in Wonderland certainly is.

I recently looked at two very different versions of this much-loved tale, each based on Lewis Carroll's original story, but with different illustrators, allowing the books to come across as two very different stories.

The first, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, is illustrated by Oleg Lipchenko, a member of the Ukrainian Union of Artists, now based in Toronto. This particular Alice edition is large, the size of a picture book, but 112 pages long and is illustrated very darkly. The Disney version of Alice definitely took away some of the darkness that the story does indeed posses and Lipchenko brings that back through his dark gray and brown drawings.

There is something very surreal about the illustrations in this one, which fits the story awesomely. If you have an older Alice fan, this would be a great gift book for them. Being that the color-tone is so dark and muted, younger children probably won't enjoy it quite as much, but older kids and adults will definitely appreciate the intricate drawings and beautiful faces the illustrator creates. 

The cover is just beautiful, especially once the dust cover is removed. It would look so pretty on a shelf, but it's wonderful once opened too!

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll
Illustrated by Oleg Lipchenko
112 pages
Juvenile Fiction
Tundra Books
November 2009
Review copy received from publisher

Alice in Wonderland, illustrated by Rodney Matthews, an English illustrator that has done work on record sleeves, computer games, and lots of books, among other things. It's still Lewis Carroll's famous story, but with a hugely different artistic interpretation. It all starts with the cover/box/sleeve the book actually comes in, which is designed in a very cool and unique manner, giving light to the fun you are going to find inside.

Bright colors all around and a strangely sci-fi take on the illustrations. Alice almosts looks alien-like on some of the pages, though not scary or creepy. Just weird. Different, in a good way. The scene of falling down the rabbit hole almost appears as if she's falling through space.

I really loved the brightness and boldness of the color choices and the double-page spreads done every once in awhile are just magnificent. They'll definitely hold your attention and allow for lots of looking around, discovering new parts of the story through the illustrations. Magical!

Alice in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll
Illustrated by Rodney Matthews
95 pages
Juvenile Fiction
Templar Books
September 2009
Review copy received from publisher

To learn more, or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon. I am an Affiliate and will receive a small commission from your purchase. 


Miriam said...

I've been meaning to read Alice in Wonderland - I've seen the film but in all my life have never read the book. I didn't know it was dark to be honest. But now I'm thinking of getting an illustrated copy, or at least along side the original because illustrations are just really helpful for visualizing it.

Jenny Woolf said...

Lots of people think it's dark. Lots of people don't. That's the charm of it. Lewis Carroll was the same, I think.