Lynn: Alice in Wonderland fans all remember the White Rabbit in his waistcoat, holding his pocket watch, and muttering about being late. Did you ever wonder what was actually going on? Gilles Bachelet steps up to reveal the real story in Mrs. White Rabbit (2017), a shocking revelation of the facts behind the public figure. That’s right, readers, now you can get the truth straight from the confidential diary of the forgotten figure behind the hutch door.
In excerpts from Mrs. Rabbit’s diary, we learn of her lonely overworked life with the White Rabbit, her worries about her six children, her husband’s late nights at the palace, and her own frustrated ambitions to be a writer. And then there are strange visitors, like the disappearing cat and that odd girl whose size transformations make Mrs. Rabbit dizzy! Is there hope for this marriage?
This book is a guaranteed treat for every Lewis Carroll fan, young or old. Allusions to the original stories pack every page, making this a book to savor. Some of the humor may go over young readers’ heads, but there are plenty of visual jokes for them to savor. And speaking of visuals, the richly elaborate illustrations are a complete joy. Let me just say “100 Ways to Cook Carrots” and pass the “Drink Me” bottle to Cindy.
Cindy: This is a quirky and enchanting book that may be a richer experience for harried mothers than young children, but there is plenty of fun to go around. Older elementary school readers who have read the Alice books will enjoy all the Easter eggs waiting for them inside, and the comical illustrations expand the text while providing “I spy” opportunities to engage the younger set. When Mrs. White Rabbit drops off her younger daughter at school, the classroom scene is full of familiar characters like Humpty Dumpty and Tweedledum and Tweedledee. A mounted skeleton of the Jabberwocky is on display, and a framed sepia portrait of illustrator John Tenniel hangs above a chart of mushroom varieties. The double-page spread is both colorful and filled with details to look at again and again. The titles and pages of newspapers, books, magazines, and record albums strewn around the messy rooms contain bunny puns and humor, too.
In addition to our own admiration for this unusual picture book, I was happy to find that Carollian Monica Edinger raved about it in a recent post on her blog, Educating Alice, named for her love of Lewis Carroll’s books. Be sure to let your Lewis Carol fans know about “the rest of the story” as shared in Mrs. White Rabbit.