This year only twelve children’s books were submitted, so the panel were more than usually eager to see the harvest. One that stood out straight away was the charming Alice in Wonderland, coupled in a single volume with Alice in Spiegelland. The Alice books are, of course, classics, though a quick check revealed that some panel members had skipped them in their young years or laid them aside after only a few pages, only reading them later as adults and now reading them aloud with great pleasure to children or grandchildren. This edition’s presentation is inviting to both the advanced small reader and the big reader-aloud. Its intimate format means it lies comfortably in the hand and that makes it a desirable gem for both children and adults to look at, hold and read.
The illustrations by Floor Rieder really add something to the story, being both order-creating elements – the frontispieces to each new chapter – and amusing little interjections. The style of illustration is contemporary but with its floral abundance and woodcut-like approach it is also reminiscent of the joyous Arts and Crafts Movement that was making itself felt in England when Alice in Wonderland was being written in 1865.
The flip-over layout may be a little obvious here, but it is none the less inviting for all that.
One point of criticism: the binding is a little tight and stiff, as a result of which quickly leafing through the book causes creaking and crackling sounds. One wishes the book an active life, so that with use and a bit of luck it will become a little more flexible.