Find some children anywhere you can and read this book to them! I say this for your pleasure at least as much as theirs. Reading it out loud will be one of the delightful experiences of your life. Did I say "reading?" I should have said "performing," because you will not be able to resist acting it out. Let yourself go--you will be a child again, yet still appreciate the book's adult insights.
There is so much to say about this classic. It captures the psychology of a girl on the verge of growing up; it is full of jokes that appear absurd, but are fiendishly clever; it somehow avoids anything old-fashioned or politically incorrect; and absolutely all the characters are loveable, no matter how hard they try not to be.
Carroll was an unhappy, aging man, yet he understood children to a spooky degree. While I smiled mildly at some of the humor, my children rolled around on the floor laughing.
Here is an interesting phenomenon: When I read it as a child, I didn't particularly warm to it. When my children tried to read it on their own, they gave up. But the group experience of reading it out loud was a joy for all.
Do I need to describe the plot? Could I if I tried? Alice may or may not be dreaming when she follows a rabbit down into his hole and enters a world where the simplest actions are strange and complicated. In her effort to explore this world and ultimately return home, nothing fits right, nothing seems to follow through properly, and no one she meets is sane. Alice, though a little girl, is given plenty of opportunities to be the rational, mature, assertive person of action.
Everyone I discuss this book with, and I mean everyone, shudders and raises the issue of Carroll's alleged improprieties. They are invisible in the book, but to put your mind at ease, you may want to check out the judicious biography by Morton N. Cohen.
The particular edition of Alice in Wonderland that I am reviewing, published by Grosset, is especially pleasant for reading out loud, with comfortable print, and Tenniel's essential illustrations.