cover image JABBERWOCKY


Lewis Carroll, , illus. by Joel Stewart. . Candlewick, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-2018-9

Stewart's (The Adventures of a Nose) mixed media art is as winsome, witty and wacky as Carroll's tongue-tripping poem, which first appeared in the pages of Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There in 1872. The opening spread features the entire poem on one page, opposite a sepia-toned, Edward Gorey–esque portrait of a boy dancing on the arm of the chair in which his proper father sits holding a large open book on his lap. A flip of the page catapults readers into the land of the Jabberwock (" 'Twas brillig...), in living color. The verse continues, line by line: vest-wearing, long-tailed "slithy toves" frolic among the trees and blue-beak-nosed "borogoves" swing peacefully in hammocks while fairy-like "mome raths outgrabe" (or play musical instruments, according to Stewart's interpretation). Signs posted on trees ("Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!") as well as a background image of the wide-mouthed villain, with red-and-white striped tail and lips, hint at the trouble to come. Alas, the cherubic child from the opening portrait, here bedecked in striped pantaloons and helmet, uses his sword masterfully to slay the creature (who turns out to be robotic, not flesh and blood). The young hero then goes "galumphing back" to celebrate with the slithy toves before nodding off with the borogoves, as narrative and visuals return to their idyllic starting point. A fittingly fanciful interpretation of this classic nonsense verse. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)