She has many wondrous, often bizarre adventures with thoroughly illogical and very strange creatures, often changing size unexpectedly (she grows as tall as a house and shrinks to 3 inches [7 cm]).
She encounters the hookah-smoking Caterpillar, Mock Turtle, who describes his education in such subjects as Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.
Alice is then called as a witness in the trial of the Knave of Hearts, who is accused of having stolen the Queen’s tarts.
However, when the Queen demands that Alice be beheaded, Alice realizes that the characters are only a pack of cards, and she then awakens from her dream.
Henry George Liddell, dean of Christ Church, Oxford, where the author had studied and held a fellowship) on a picnic in July 1862.
Alice asked Carroll to write out the stories for her, and in response he produced a hand-lettered collection entitled .
A visitor to the Liddell home saw the storybook and thought it should be published, so Carroll revised and expanded it.
Appearing at a time when children’s literature generally was intended to teach moral lessons, the book at first baffled critics, who failed to appreciate the nonsense that so captivated its young readers.
But Carroll understood how children’s minds worked, and the way he turned logic on its head appealed to their sense of the ridiculous.
In the riddles and the poems—such as “How doth the little crocodile” and “You are old, Father William” (both parodies of well-known didactic poems)—he reached even more absurd heights.
The work attracted a following and led to a sequel, (taking the two volumes together) had become the most popular children’s book in England, and within two more decades it was among the most popular storybooks in the world.
It inspired numerous films, theatrical performances, and ballets as well as countless works of scholarly analysis.