Down-the-Rabbit-Hole Reads: A Library List based on Alice in Wonderland



Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati presents Alice in Wonderland!

Ignite your sense of adventure by joining the ever-curious Alice and her bubbly friends for an unforgettable tea party! Based on the adored, imaginative tale by Lewis Carroll, this modern retelling is the toe-tapping story of a lost girl, a cool cat, a wild hare, and the original “dancing queen.” Featuring an updated score and exuberant, colorful costumes, this beloved musical will delight audiences of all ages this holiday season!

Can’t get enough wonder? Check out these fantastical finds from the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County!


PAINT THE ROSES, READ (Kid-approved!)

Alice in Wonderland retold by Sarah Powell, illustrated by Isabel Muñoz



Introduce your children to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland with beautiful illustrations and abridged text. Seek and find characters from the popular children’s story Alice in Wonderland on each page, and follow them throughout the story. Each page contains beautifully illustrated characters to find and details to spot, accompanied by abridged text. Search for Alice falling down the rabbit hole, the Mad Hatter at his Tea Party, the Queen playing croquet, and much more. This seek-and-find book is the perfect way to introduce younger children to the world of Lewis Carroll.





Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury



An exuberant edition of the Lewis Carroll masterpiece, this book is lavishly illustrated by one of the most beloved children’s book artists of our time⏤Helen Oxenbury. Through The Looking-Glass is illustrated with intimacy, warmth, and charm. Here again is Alice, dressed in her bright blue jumper and ready for adventure like any modern child. All it takes is a bit of curiosity about the room reversed in the mirror, and suddenly Alice is in the Looking-Glass world with all manner of comical and magical characters⏤Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the lion and the unicorn, and a whole game board of chess pieces come to life. On page after page, Helen Oxenbury’s incomparable line drawings, sepia illustrations, and full-color paintings give today’s children their own utterly accessible view into Lewis Carroll’s timeless nonsense.


The Light Princess by George MacDonald, illustrated by Amanda Shaffer



Friend and literary mentor to Lewis Carroll, George MacDonald wrote many curious and instructive fairytales for children. In his most whimsical and “lightest” fairytale, The Light Princess, a princess is cursed to a life without gravity…

After years of being childless, the king and queen finally welcome a beautiful daughter into the world. But at the young princess’s christening, the king’s wicked sister curses the girl to a life without gravity. Doomed to float above the ground, unable to bring her feet to earth, the princess grows up unlike any other child. Inspired by “Sleeping Beauty,” The Light Princess indulges in skillful wordplay and unrepentant puns⏤the kind of story made to charm children and delight adults. (Downloadable eBook)




The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Cavalderas County by Joseph McDonough



From the playwright of Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati’s Alice in Wonderland comes a great play for young audiences that can be performed by groups of new and experienced actors alike! This rambunctious stage adaptation of Mark Twain’s classic short story tells the story of schemer and braggart Jim Smiley, who decides to make his fortune by entering his frog in the first annual Calaveras County Frog Jumping Contest. Smiley has certainly had his share of good luck, but the people of Calaveras County are getting a bit tired of being duped by Jim, and they may just have a scheme of their own…



A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab



Kell is one of the last Antari — magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand. After an exchange goes awry, Kell  runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure. Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive. From #1 New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab comes the Shades of Magic series: A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, and A Conjuring of Light.




How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan



A unique and elegant blend of science, memoir, travel writing, history, and medicine, #1 New York Times bestseller. How to Change Your Mind is a triumph of participatory journalism. By turns dazzling and edifying, it is the gripping account of a journey to an exciting and unexpected new frontier in our understanding of the mind, the self, and our place in the world. The true subject of Pollan’s “mental travelogue” is not just psychedelic drugs, but also the eternal puzzle of human consciousness and how, in a world that offers us both suffering and joy, we can do our best to be fully present and find meaning in our lives.





The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson



At an ancient and crumbling estate, overrun by wild gardens, resides a man who has a most unusual story to tell⎯a story that blends horror, fantasy, and science fiction. As a beautifully written work of pure imagination, The House on the Borderland has few equals, and has been compared to the writings of Poe, Machen, Blackwood and Lovecraft.








Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire



Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children: No Solicitations. No Visitors. No Quests. Children have always disappeared under the right conditions⎯slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else. But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children. Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world. But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of things, no matter the cost.




The Story of Alice by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst



Drawing on numerous unpublished sources, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst examines in detail the peculiar friendship between the Oxford mathematician Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) and Alice Liddell, that resulted in Alice in Wonderland. Tracing the development of the Alice books from their inception in 1862 to Liddell’s death in 1934, Douglas-Fairhurst also provides a keyhole through which to observe a larger, shifting cultural landscape: the birth of photography, changing definitions of childhood, murky questions about sex and sexuality, and the relationship between Carroll’s books and other works of Victorian literature. In the stormy transition from the Victorian to the modern era, Douglas-Fairhurst shows, Wonderland became a sheltered world apart, where the line between the actual and the possible was continually blurred.




Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes (eAudiobook)




The first novel in Colleen Oakes’s epic, imaginative series tells the origin of one of the most infamous villains⏤the Queen of Hearts. This is not the story of the Wonderland we know. Alice has not fallen down a rabbit hole. This is a Wonderland where beneath each smile lies a secret, each tart comes with a demand, and only prisoners tell the truth. Dinah is the princess who will one day reign over Wonderland. She has not yet seen the dark depths of her kingdom; she longs only for her father’s approval and a future with the boy she loves. But when a betrayal breaks her heart and threatens her throne, she is launched into Wonderland’s dangerous political game. Dinah must stay one step ahead of her cunning enemies or she’ll lose not just the crown but her head.


Imagination Generation by David Kisor



From the composer and lyricist of Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati’s Alice in Wonderland, this wacky and fun collection of songs is sure to delight children. The songs are specifically designed to help children develop the important skills of creativity, ingenuity, investigation, problem-solving, mental-flexibility, and imagination.





Feeling Positive by David Kisor



This album contains songs that build optimism, curiosity, kindness and gratitude in children. This soundtrack created by composer and lyricist David Kisor of Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati’s Alice in Wonderland helps generate positive self-talk in children, preparing them for a life of engagement, enjoyment and meaning.



Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

When a massive fire kills their parents, three children are delivered to the custody of cousin and stage actor Count Olaf, who is secretly plotting to steal their parents’ vast fortune.


A vengeful fairy is driven to curse an infant princess, only to discover that the child may be the one person who can restore peace to their troubled land.

Spirited Away

During her family’s move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts.

La Cité des Enfants Perdus (City of Lost Children)

In a futuristic city, a demonic, dreamless scientist named Krank kidnaps children to tap into their dreams. Krank’s cadre of cloned henchmen snatch 5-year-old Denree to subject him to the horrific dream-retrieval process. The boy’s father, One, the hulking strongman of a traveling circus, and his precocious 9-year-old friend, Miette, join forces to defeat Krank’s minions and save Denree.

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