I love the book and I have always loved this book. My mother gave me a copy when I was 9 or 10. After that I think I read it twice a year until I graduated from high school. Just ask me to recite You Are Old Father William! So why write about it now? I am taking a course on the works of Lewis Carroll. It is great fun to sit in a room of Alice admirers and talk about her.
A critic has said that this is not a book for children. Does that imply that it should be denied to children, held off from their experience until they can appreciate its many references and subleties? Not on my watch. Like all the best children’s literature — Tom Sawyer and Little Women come to mind — it speaks eloquently of life as a child sees it. No child can resist. The adult finds other messages. I remember reading Peter Rabbit to my own very young children and musing (to myself, not them) about the defense of property rights in Mr. McGregor’s cabbage patch.
Which brings me, happily, to the Cheshire Cat. The cat appears, the cat speaks, the cat disappears, rapidly.
“I said ‘pig’,” replied Alice; “and I wish you wouldn’t keep appearing and vanishing so suddenly: you make one quite giddy!”
“All right,” said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beinning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone.
Any child loves that Cat, which talks and can do the disappearing act. Any adult sees the hazards of getting what you wish for. Instead of sudden disappearance, you get only a ggrriiinnn.