Back
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Softcover) 3 stars

Welcome back to a Wonderland that is as astonishingly new as it is joyously familiar. …

Usually a fan of Oxenbury, but perhaps Tenniel has eaten my brain

3 stars

Look, illustrating Alice is hard. You're laboring in the shadow of Tenniel, and the comparison is going to be made. You can lean into the Tenniel iconography and add your own spin to it, as Disney did, or you can fight it tooth and nail. That's what Oxenbury's doing here, but she's working so hard to be Not Tenniel that she's forgetting to have any fun with it. Thus we have a Cheshire Cat that somehow "grins" without showing any teeth, playing-card people who just look like they're wearing playing cards, and weirdly sterile environments that seem terrified to include any imagery that isn't explicitly detailed in the text. Characters often float along with minimal background. Their expressions seem muted. If anything, it feels like Oxenbury is trying to bring a sort of naturalism to her illustrations here, which is, frankly, kind of a bonkers way of going about illustrating …