Cover Wars: Alice in Wonderland

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Join us in judging books by their covers! This week’s cover wars will follow the same format as last week’s: instead of many books, we’ll look at many covers of the same books and assess them based on how well or poorly they represent the story, and which aspect of the characters or plot are emphasized. Happy reading!

Alice 1

Steph: I kinda like it. I’m not sure about all the blank space, I mean, it’s a very plain cover for such a riotous book full of action and colour and mischief. I like the illustration of the rabbit, and I suppose the “white rabbit” could account for the blankness of the cover… and now I’m think Tabula Rasa and wondering if there is a connection to the White Rabbit there, but I think that’s for an essay and not for a cover judgement. I kind of wish that Wonderland were highlighted in some way. Alice is certainly important… but so is wonderland.

Nafiza: Hmm, I’m with Steph. I adore the illustrations but the white space is rather jarring. I feel like if the background wasn’t so glaringly empty, it would have more of an effect.

Janet: That rabbit tottering on the edge of who-knows-what makes the cover for me. It is such an absurd rabbit. I kind of like the white, almost for the reasons Steph and Nafiza don’t. I like that this cover doesn’t tell me what Alice looks like, or what Wonderland looks like. The one figure we do see gives a sense of the ridiculous characters in the story without dictating to my imagination. That said I don’t like the shade of red – but I’m picky.

Alice 2

Steph: Whoah, this is a dated cover. It’s just so… well, it’s kinda boring? Also Alice is wearing very non-iconic Alice clothing and looks rather tame as opposed to the troublesome tousled blond we get on other covers like the Tenniel pieces. I’m not a fan of the muted purple, the font is alright, but nothing particularly stands out on this cover… at all.

Nafiza: I’m not a fan of the gray margins at all. I know it is to provide a juxtaposition and contrast to the picture inside the frame but it doesn’t work for me. The illustrations are dated and not something that engages me.

Janet: Alice looks unexpectedly docile, which is not something I associate with her. The brown hair is a nice touch; is Alice’s hair colour stated in the text? I’m with Nafiza on the grey margins, but I like the topiary in the background and I’d pause over this cover long enough take a good look at the queen. Not my favourite, but better than the movie covers, right?

Alice 3

Steph: This, for me, is the classic cover that I had as a kid (but who’s to say what’s classic, haha, I’m betting everyone has a different childhood favourite). I like it. I think that it is perhaps just a little too…. normal, and a little boring – but I just love the classic feel of it. Also the Cheshire cat gives us that uncanny feel to the book. The title seems to intrude on the artwork, and I’m not sure the border is necessary. It’s an old cover, but a favourite of mine (and I think I have it here somewhere).

Nafiza: I’m with Stephie once again. The cover is boring. This is Alice in Wonderland!!! Surely there are more fantastic ways to express the craziness and wonder of wonderland than this cover?

Janet: I think it is the muted colours that make this cover seem old-fashioned (and I’m pretty sure that this cover is old). I like this one anyway for the placement of the title, that lovely (old) illustrative style, the shading of the tree and other figures, and for that nearly-as-large-as-Alice cat.

 Alice 5

Steph: Well, perhaps this one is even older than my own favourite. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cover that features the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. It’s a very iconic moment in the story and it makes sense that it would make the cover, so I like the general idea. Alice herself looks a little too docile and plain still, but I like the way that the March Hare is staring straight out at the reader. This is kind of fun!

Nafiza: Hmmm…..nope. Though to be completely honest, I’d probably like this better if the colours were glossier and the illustrations had a bit more impact.

Janet: I would not want to be at a tea party with that Hatter. Alice looks a little to meek and sweet for my taste, but I do like that she isn’t blonde. This cover is kind of refreshing, but it doesn’t make me leap for joy.

Alice 6

Steph: This cover looks like it is a framed classic – which I guess it is meant to be. It’s… alright. I mean, it’s meant to market the “classic” that it is and probably it would go with a collection of other Washington Square Classics. Alice looks a little more feisty and she’s in her iconic clothes, I like the white rabbit – he looks odd and sort of lost, which is perfect. I kind of wonder where they are though… I don’t remember a scene like this in the book (do you fellow book warriors?). There are many a great scene to choose from so it would make sense to take from the actual story.

Nafiza: This is much too boring and again with the framing. It’s interesting how the cover positions the reader as on the outside looking in. I don’t understand why this scene is always the more popular one where covers are concerned. Show me the crazy queens, the talking flowers!

Janet: Steph, I think this is the scene where Alice first sees the rabbit, and he keeps muttering that he’s going to be late for a very important date. Or something like that. (Time to reread, methinks.) That rabbit looks very British, almost military in his forward-leaning march and attire. I like that Alice appears right on the edge of action; I’m convinced that she is about to lean her weight further forward onto her arms and stand up to follow that rabbit. Definitely aiming for that “classic” look – but i like this one.

   Alice 9

Steph: Another serial cover. I like this one, I like it’s creepiness. I’m not sure why there are all the wavy lines… maybe because the book is wonky? Or it’s meant to symbolize the forest or something? I just really like the Cheshire Cat and I like it when he’s featured, haha, so I’m biased. I like the creepy smile, and the suit symbols are a  nice touch in the background. Again I have to question the use of purple… is the Cheshire cat purple? In the Disney version he is, I guess, so maybe that’s where they’re getting it from.

Nafiza: This cover made me grin like a loon. I like how bold it is and how sharp the teeth are. Also the purple though I don’t understand the wavy lines–seems like a strange choice for the Cheshire Cat but I can live with it.

Janet: Um. I would not pick this up. Only if Yash handed it to me. Although staring at it now, I’m almost getting used to the creepy effect and those teeth. What a grin!

Alice 10

Steph: Janet! You are always keeping the best for last! This cover is so creative and fun! I love that she kind of looks like a paper doll, and that she’s upside down – since so much of the book feels upside down (or inside wrong, or outside up – you get the jist). I enjoy the consistency of the whimsical (but legible) font and the blue tones. Very nice. I want to own this cover.

Nafiza: I LOVE this! So many times, the covers position Alice as the sane observer in a world of mad crazy things and people, discounting the fact that since all the events sprout from Alice’s imagination, she’s the craziest one of them all. This cover neatly weds the crazy circumstances and the mischievous whimsy that is so characteristic of Alice. I really like this.

Janet: Creative, isn’t it? This cover is cleverly done. I’m not comfortable with how helpless Alice is in this one, though.

82 responses to “Cover Wars: Alice in Wonderland

  1. Pingback: Cover Wars: Alice in Wonderland (For all the book readers♡) | Lee Ann Dasher·

  2. This must be kismet … or something.
    I have just begun reading Alice for the first time since I read it to my kids twenty odd years ago.
    The edition I have is a 1984 Gollanz hardcover, illustrated by Justin Todd.
    What is unique( I think) about this edition is the back cover features a Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) photograph of Alice Liddell as the Beggar Maid.
    In the photograph, Alice has short, dark hair and this is how she is portrayed in the illustrations throughout this edition.

  3. I like the concept of actually books by their cover. I vote for my childhood cover, the one with the Cheshire Cat in the tree. The last one is a bit too contemporary–feels like a mashup coming on, as if Alice is a small town girl who becomes barista in San Francisco.

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