Developed by: Atomic Antelope
A beautiful edition of Lewis Carroll’s classic story, we love this app for its merging of new and old: the option to read the original or abridged versions of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and the gorgeous interactive adaptations of John Tenniel’s original illustrations.
Prepare to use the app by introducing one of these activities.
- Screen talk. There are many film and television adaptations of Alice in Wonderland. If your child has seen one or more of them, discuss how these viewings affect their expectations of the book. Begin by comparing other book and movie pairs that they have already read and seen. Were those versions identical? Are there parts of the Alice movie they hope are in the book? Parts they hope are not in the book? Characters they hope act differently? Revisit the discussion after reading the story on the iPad.
- Title talk. Ask your child what they think Wonderland is like. What is the meaning of “wonder?” Talk about the different ways and context in which it is used: as a verb (to wonder about something), as a noun (something can be filled with wonder), as part of other words (wonderful!). Which of these ways does your child think wonder will manifest in the story?
Help your child get the most out of an app experience by trying the following activities.
- Growing up. Lewis Carroll, whose real name was Charles Dodgson, was a mathematician. Numbers and math run through the story in interesting ways. For example, physical size plays an important role in the story. Ask your child to keep a list of every time Alice grows up or shrinks down. If a specific measurement is mentioned, which it often is, jot that down, too. (If pen and paper or other note-taking tools are not handy, take a screenshot of the page and make the list later!) After finishing the story, help your child use a tape measure to recreate Alice’s many sizes. You could use sidewalk chalk and pavement or markers and craft paper. Trace your child where they fit in height-wise. Encourage your child to draw at least “one” Alice completely, as well as other characters and objects from the story. Seeing Alice’s accurate sizes will bring the story to life in a whole new way and help those math skills!
- Musings on morals. “How fond she is of finding morals in things!” Alice observes of the Duchess (Chapter IX, p. 170). Indeed, the Duchess offers up many morals. When she cannot think of a moral, Alice dares to suggest that “Perhaps it hasn’t one.” (p. 167) What is a moral? If your child had to define a moral based on Chapter IX alone, how would they define it? Ask your child to think of other stories (often fairytales or fables) that have morals? Does Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland have a moral? Multiple morals?
Extend the app experience with a real life activity.
Surrealism. Although Lewis Carroll lived in the nineteenth century, his writing can be compared to and is said to have inspired the work of surrealist artists in the twentieth century. Help your child make these comparisons by looking at artwork such as Salvador Dalí’s “The Persistence of Memory.” How does Carroll do with words what Dalí does with paint? In what ways are both similar to dreams (or nightmares)? If your child were to turn “The Persistence of Memory” into an interactive app, what images would they want to make movable? How would they move? Would there be sound?
Singsong Silliness. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is filled with traditional rhymes and songs to which Alice cannot remember the proper words. When she tries to say them, or hears them from others, they come out in unexpected ways. Ask your child to rewrite and sing their own version of songs such as “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” (featured in Alice as “Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!”) or “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” What if Mary had a big blue whale?!
A Mad Tea Party! Throw a mad tea party with your child. Begin by creating a set of rules or etiquette for this tea party that are as nonsensical as Alice finds Wonderland. Guests must stand, no sitting allowed; guests must alternate which hand they drink their tea with; etc. Create hats that would live up to the Mad Hatter’s fancy. Prepare riddles and jokes with which to entertain your guests or teach them the words to your newly revised songs and nursery rhymes. Make pocket watches by decorating cookies as pocket watches and dip them into your tea!