First Graf: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
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THIS WAS THE FIRST FANTASY I ever read — at the tender age of six or seven, IIRC — and remains one of my most beloved and oft-quoted books. In some ways it’s similar to Bullwinkle
or SpongeBob Squarepants
: touted as kiddie fare, but really told with a more mature audience in mind. Lewis Carroll’s puzzles and paradoxes (and John Tenniel’s classic illustrations) have been discussed for almost as long as the book has seen print, and some of the former’s riddles (“Why is a raven like a writing desk?”) remain today as enigmatic as Zen koans.
It all starts with the dream of a little girl named Alice, who — well, why not let Mr. Carroll tell us?
Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, “and what is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations?”