Review of Alice's Adventure's in Wonderland


The opening lines of this review of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland remind us that Lewis Carroll was virtually unknown before his bestselling novel was published. In contrast its illustrator, John Tenniel, was a household name due to his work for comic magazine Punch. The lines read, ‘Forty-two illustrations by Tenniel! Why there needs nothing else to sell this book, one would think’. 

Wholly positive, the review describes the novel as an ‘exquisitely wild, fantastic, impossible, yet most natural history’. The review goes on to praise Tenniel’s illustrations, particularly noting how memorable they are, thus anticipating their enduring popularity. Indeed, the reviewer captures the reason why it is impossible to separate the illustrations from the text, writing that Tenniel ‘has entered equally into the fun and graceful sentiment of his author’ [editor’s emphasis]. 

In the last paragraph, the reviewer hints that Alice is not ‘knowledge in disguise’, i.e. a children’s book with a strong moral or educational message. Aunt Judy’s Magazine, on the other hand, was a monthly magazine for children whose aim was to simultaneously instruct and entertain.

Full title:
'Reviews: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. By Lewis Carroll: with Forty-two Illustrations by John Tenniel' from Aunt Judy's Magazine
1 June 1866, London
Aunt Judy's Magazine
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library

Full catalogue details

Related articles

Time and place in Lewis Carroll’s dream-worlds

Article by:
Rebecca Hutcheon
Childhood and children's literature, The novel 1832–1880

In Alice in Wonderland, Alice asks: ‘what is the use of a book … without pictures or conversation?’ Taking a close look at the illustrations, Rebecca Hutcheon explores how time and space are depicted in the dream-worlds of Lewis Carroll’s Alice books.

Understanding Alice

Article by:
Kimberley Reynolds
Childhood and children's literature, The novel 1832–1880

Professor Kimberley Reynolds explores how Lewis Carroll transformed logic, literary traditions and ideas about childhood into the superbly inventive and irreverent Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Anniversaries of Alice in Wonderland

Article by:
Will Brooker

Professor Will Brooker, Kingston University, discusses the many interpretations and analyses Alice in Wonderland has undergone in the last 150 years

Related collection items

Related works

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Created by: Lewis Carroll

This fantasy novel of 1865 was originally entitled Alice’s Adventures Under Ground. It was written by the ...