A.S. Byatt's Bookshelf
By Lewis Carroll
Alice is the archetypal English heroine—she is full of common sense in a fantastic world of dangerous and mournful beasts, cross queens and duchesses, argumentative caterpillars, and philosophical eggs. There is a sense of anarchy in Alice that pleases all children—the adults are so clearly mad and muddled that the child, however baffled, feels wiser. Carroll never talks down to his readers, adult or child, and he doesn't try to improve or console them…just to amaze and delight. It's a strong book that makes its own world in its own terms. No one ever forgets its characters once she has met them.