Alice finds the bottle labeled "Drink me". Colorized illustration by John Tenniel from The Nursery "Alice".

The Nursery "Alice" is a comic fantasy novel of fourteen chapters for very young children by the British author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, who wrote under the pseudonym of Lewis Carroll. It was first published in 1890. Carroll adapted the book from his own 1865 work Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

The book is intended for, in Carroll's words, "Children aged from Nought to Five", although Carroll acknowledges in the preface that it is less likely to be read by children of that age and more likely "to be thumbled, to be cooed over, to be dogs'-eared, to be rumpled, to be kissed".

The Nursery "Alice" contains twenty of John Tenniel's illustrations, which first appeared in black and white in the 1865 edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but enlarged and colorized. The illustrations are an integral part of the book. Each illustration is referred to directly in the text and Carroll often points out the beautiful colors in the pictures. In chapter thirteen, Carroll even refers to how "Mr. Tenniel" had to tell him what some of the birds and animals depicted in the illustration were. Notably, Carroll explains that what look like a nose and chin in the picture of the Caterpillar are really two of its feet. Carroll also draws his young readers' attention to the foxgloves in the picture of Alice and the Cheshire Cat, informing them that the word "foxglove" comes from "folk's glove" and that "folk" means "fair folk" or "fairies".

The White Rabbit, colorized illustration by John Tenniel from The Nursery "alice".

The plot follows that of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland closely, although the manner in which Carroll abridged his work makes it appear much more episodic and to have less of a narrative flow than the original.

Notable differences from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland are that there are no references to Alice's cat Dinah or her older sister. All of Carroll's parody poems, including "You Are Old, Father William" and "The Lobster Quadrille"[1] are omitted. As well as the explanation about the origins of the word "foxglove", the book also contains a lengthy digression, which takes up most of the sixth chapter, about how some children that Carroll knew once gave their dog Dash some porridge instead of a cake for its birthday.

It is also interesting to note that in The Nursery "Alice", unlike in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Carroll makes it clear to his readers from the start that Alice's story is only a dream. The novel opens with the words, "Once upon a time, there was a little girl called Alice and she had a very curious dream." While describing Alice's long fall down the rabbit-hole, Carroll tells his readers that such a fall would probably kill somebody in real life but cannot harm anybody if it is just part of a dream.

See also


  1. The twelfth chapter of The Nursery "Alice" is called "The Lobster Quadrille" but Carroll's poem of the same name does not appear in it.

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