Alice’s Magic Garden by Henry Herz introduces readers to Alice long before she ever went to Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass. Alice is miserable living in a stuffy, grey boarding house. The food is terrible and none of the girls like her.
One day, Alice finds a secret garden hidden on the grounds of the boarding house. She delights in tending to the garden every day. Little does she know that her small acts of kindness are about to change her life in big and colorful ways.
This book is a magically fun read, especially for those who are already in love with Lewis Carroll’s cast of creative characters. I enjoyed getting to see Alice’s character blossom, much like her enchanted garden. Once mild and meek, she emerges as a bold and confident young lady.
I also liked seeing the White Rabbit and Caterpillar take on a more serious and mindful role. Instead of being absent minded and silly, they are totally present in the moment and even show signs of being thoughtful and caring instead of cantankerous. To me, this gives the characters more depth as well as a more prominent purpose for being in the story.
Natalie Hoopes’ illustrations are stunning. I love how the illustrations have a Wizard of Oz feel to them. Before Alice finds the garden, her world is black, white, and grey. After continuously tending the garden, only her world bursts into color. This is a great visualization of how her world is to change even further once she finds the Rabbit’s hole.
I love Hoopes’ artistic style. She puts so much detail into every page. Her color palate is remarkable. The cool blues coupled with the pink and purple pastels really pop against the lush greenery of the garden.
Readers of all ages will delight in this magical prequel. Children will especially be captivated by the gorgeous illustrations and hilarious characters. Parents will also enjoy hunting for literary Easter eggs from Carroll’s original classic hidden throughout the book.