9 Reasons Why Alice in Wonderland is So Popular

Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, colloquially called Alice in Wonderland, is one of the most beloved books in the world. It’s been translated into hundreds of languages, including non-languages like “emoji”, and adapted for every imaginable media form. But what about this seemingly innocuous children’s book makes people love it so much?

Alice in Wonderland is so popular because it’s fun, easy to read, short, accessible, and features characters and scenes that are impossible not to love. It’s also full of nonsense words, puzzles, and riddles for everyone to enjoy. Kids love its light humor, while adults appreciate its cleverness.

Keep reading to learn more about why so many people are simply mad about Alice.

1. It’s Just Plain Fun

Alice in Wonderland is fun! It’s fun to read, fun to watch, fun to play in video games – just plain fun! After all, who doesn’t love the story of a precocious young girl getting into crazy scenarios and using sass, tears, nonsense, and logic to get out of them?

People love wild fantasy stories, and the ability to pick up a book and escape into another world is something we can all benefit from occasionally.

A place like Wonderland is somewhere kids can go when they’re bored, sad, or lonely. Adults can visit any time they’re stressed, exhausted, or just want to be done with the real world for a little while.

And the only thing anyone has to do to get there is pick up a book.

2. It’s Short and Easy to Read

Another thing that makes Alice so popular is how easy it is to read. It has fewer than 30,000 words, translating to fewer than 100 pages in some editions, which makes it a quick read, especially for a chapter book.

It’s not difficult, either. Scholastic puts its ideal reading level at fifth to eighth grade. However, some versions, like Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland (available from Amazon), are meant for younger children.

While books like this one aren’t written by Carroll, they keep the story’s main idea intact and present it in a much more palatable way for even the youngest readers. Plus, they come with more, even brighter pictures and harder-to-destroy covers.

3. It’s Accessible For All Ages, Races, and Languages

The book is also widely accessible to anyone who wants to read it. That is more than just because of all the reprintings and retellings for younger kids, too.

For decades, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Carroll’s other works have been in the public domain. That means anyone with access to a computer can head over to Project Gutenberg or the Internet Archives and read the book for free.

Booksellers have also translated it into more than 170 languages, including English, Spanish, French, and Mandarin. However, scholars and translators have also translated it into more obscure languages, such as Brazilian sign language and ancient Egyptian.

That makes it easy for people to enjoy it, no matter their language.

Furthermore, adults can reread the book, or read it for the first time, and rediscover something new to love. Kids love the book because it’s light, breezy, whimsical, and fun. Adults appreciate it for all those same reasons.

However, they can also see the more adult-themed humor and cleverness Carroll added that younger readers typically miss.

4. The Characters and Scenes Are Immersive and Memorable

When Carroll wrote his Wonderland stories, he created some of the most iconic characters imaginable. There was nothing like the Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter, or Red Queen when he first wrote the book in 1865.

People still recognize these characters by sight or name today. The scenarios he put Alice in were also unique, and the artwork included helped readers visualize them.

When people read about the Mad Tea Party, they feel like they are there. They heard the Dormouse singing his silly song and got frustrated with Alice when the Hatter screamed, “New cup!” just as she was about to take a drink.

Walt Disney further solidified these scenes in our imagination when he turned the book into a Disney classic in 1951. Even today, most of us still remember the words to the Unbirthday Song.

5. Alice Makes a Unique and Lovable Protagonist

One reason people love Alice so much is because of Alice. The story was written in the 1800s when girls wore dresses, stockings, petticoats, and other similar clothing items and often didn’t even receive education outside the home. They were supposed to be meek, mild, and unassuming.

Alice was curious and questioning, brash and bold, and sometimes downright sassy and impertinent. She wasn’t a helpless damsel in distress and got herself into many awkward situations, but she also got herself out of them.

Many children saw and continue to see themselves in Alice.

6. It’s Been Adapted Into Various Media Types

Over the years, many adaptations of the Wonderland stories have cropped up, such as:

  • Wonderland-themed movies
  • Cartoons
  • Manga
  • Video games
  • Plays.

People even write songs about the story, such as Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” and Taylor Swift’s “Wonderland.” Some stick closely to the source material, while others diverge dramatically, but all of them serve to keep Carroll’s work in the public consciousness.

7. Carroll Used Nonsense Language, Riddles, and Other Fun Devices

Today, people think of Dr. Seuss when they hear the phrase “nonsense language.” Lewis Carroll was using it long before Dr. Seuss wrote his first book, though, as he was the first person to use the term portmanteau word.

He also came up with several portmanteau words for his stories, including:

  • Slithy
  • Frabjous
  • Bandersnatch
  • Frumious

These words made the books exciting for kids and showed them that language and reading could be fun.

He also included puzzles, riddles, songs, and poems, all within the book itself. Reading it is like reading a whole collection of different exciting things.

Other writers have followed his lead, and today, there are plenty of books with more than just words. But Carroll’s works were some of the first to do this, which helps keep the stories popular even today.

8. It’s Become a Cult Classic & Appeals to Different Crowds

Alice in Wonderland is and will likely always be a beloved children’s book. However, in recent years, it’s also become a cult classic and a symbol for teens and adults who don’t adhere to “normal” adult society.

Some people have adopted it as an unofficial symbol of psychedelic drug culture, while others simply embrace it to showcase their disdain for mainstream society or reclaim their childhoods as adults.

Alice in Wonderland-themed clothing and accessories often pop up in alternative stores such as Hot Topic or Box Lunch. In the current culture, adults seem to love the tale as much as or even more than children.

9. It Has Universally Relatable Themes

Finally, the book has stood the test of time because its themes are universally relatable. Popular study site eNotes lists the book’s themes as:

  • Absurdity
  • Coming of age
  • Identity

Other themes in the book include:

  • Self-reliance
  • Loss and reclamation of innocence
  • The importance of curiosity and imagination

These are all things that people can appreciate and understand.

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