This is the premise of Frank Beddor’s The Looking Glass Wars.
In this parallel novel, Alyss must return to Wonderland to reclaim her rightful throne, taken by her Aunt Redd during a bloody battle. It was this battle that began the story, sent Alyss into seclusion in our world and killed Alyss’s mother as her Aunt Redd stormed the castle screaming, “Off with their stinking, boring heads!”
Beddor has done his homework with Carroll’s original. Yet, once you’re a few chapters in, you begin to forget about ‘that other Alice’ and start liking the story on its own merit. It’s action packed, which serves to interest boys (something not usually associated with the original). In fact, some scenes are probably too graphic for the elementary set. The naming of characters is brilliant and this helps us to fully invest in them. The plot moves along nicely, holding our interest easily.
But while the premise, characters and action are all sound, The Looking Glass Wars does have a few hiccups. The writing can be a bit uneven, with some scenes too quickly executed while others seem to drag. The love story is somewhat unbelievable as most seven-year-old kids are not of the mindset, nor maturity, to fall. The publishers seem to have marketed this towards an elementary set (maybe because that’s where the original is wrongly placed also). However, this book is much better suited to the middle grade student or the fantasy-minded high-schooler.
All in all, it’s a fun, fast-paced action story that made some sense of the classic's nonsense. The Looking Glass Wars would be great as a companion book to employ comparison activities with the original.
Recommended for middle school students and fantasy minded high school students. For both classroom and library purchase. I'm unable to find any learning resources around the www. Anyone with links, please post them to the comments.
Genre: Fantasy and Parallel Fiction. Age: Middle Grade & Young Adult. Pages 384.
Publisher:Dial. Date: September 2006
ISBN-10: 0803731531 / ISBN-13: 978-0803731530
Advisory: Some Violence
Buy The Looking Glass Wars Here
The Looking Glass Wars website is filled with videos, a store, a soundtrack, tons of fantastic artwork, an online Card Soldiers game, ecards, screensavers, info on school events, a forum... There's way too much to list! (Hint: Make sure click on the links and go to PO'd Monkey)
Read my review of the second book in the trilogy, Seeing Redd, HERE.
ArchEnemy, the conclusion to the trilogy, will be released on October 15, 2009. You can pre-order ArchEnemy here.
Author Frank Beddor was once a former world champion freestyle skier as well as an actor, a stuntman and, oh, he also produced that little movie called There's Something About Mary. You'll find more about him on The Looking Glass Wars Website.
© 2007-2009 Cheryl Vanatti for www.ReadingRumpus.com