I read Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at an awkward age when I was too old to appreciate the nonsense and too young to get it. A Mad Hatter’s tea party? A caucus race that runs in circles? It annoyed more than entertained me those many years ago. But Jamison Odone’s whimsical and brief retelling of this 1865 classic, Stickfiguratively Speaking: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, gave me a chance to revisit the nonsense.
This time I had great fun, thanks to Odone’s quirky interpretations. Indeed, I carried the book around with me — small enough to fit in my purse and winter coat pocket — and randomly read and flipped through the pages over and over again, each time seeing something new.
Odone says in a press release, “There is really no room for the words to carry the art or vice versa—they have to all work together.” With that, he succeeds, playfully interchanging words and illustrations on the pages. Adding surprise and humor, the interior thoughts and snarky side comments of Alice, the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter and other characters spice up the familiar oddness. To get an idea of the stick-figure style, check out Odone’s blog post Alice’s Adventures in my pad.
Odone will produce more Stickfiguratively Speaking books. The next one in the series, scheduled to be published in September 2010, is Stickfiguratively Speaking: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
On a final note, the release date for Stickfiguratively Speaking: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is March 5, the same day Tim Burton’s movie Alice in Wonderland appears in theaters. A variation on the classic, the movie imagines 19-year-old Alice returning to a Wonderland ruled by the irrational “off with their heads!” Red Queen. Reading the former before seeing the latter is a great way to be reacquainted with the classic characters and their bizarre ways.