WORDYSOD : Michael Lawrence                                    www.wordysod.com

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For younger children, to read themselves or be read to, a series of tales with pictures (longer than most picture books) starring Lewis Carroll's Alice before she goes to Wonderland and through the looking glass. While not echoing Carroll's Victorian usage and occasional stuffiness, the intended tone was gentle, light and humorous - ideal for reading aloud. The settings were to be fairly timeless, the stories as unpredictable and rich in oddball characters and situations as Carroll's. I would really like to have written these tales, but no editor seemed to see the point of them. Maybe they were right. What do I know? I just dream this stuff up.



Alice wakes up to find that she's turned into a jigsaw. Shocked, she jumps out of bed, and all fifty pieces of her fly all over the room. Setting out to put herself back together she finds that she's one piece short. Going in search of the missing piece (an ear) she meets others looking for missing things, including dancing shadows who have lost their owners and a host of bouncing black dots mislaid by dominoes. These and others accompany Alice on her quest for her missing ear.


(This one sprang from a real upside down rainbow I saw one afternoon over a Norfolk field. Very bizarre.)

From her window, Alice sees an upside down rainbow at the end of the garden. She goes outside and reaches towards the rainbow. Surprised that her hand doesn't go through it, she then finds that she can climb onto it. But now she's presented with a problem. She stands on the lowest point of the rainbow, which goes up in two directions from there. Which way should she go? And what will she find when she gets there? Fortunately, she soon makes the acquaintance of a two-headed creature called the Blathermuch, who knows his way round upsy-dupsy rainbows - backwards.


One drowsy afternoon, Alice sees a very grubby creature rise out of the swamp near the river. The creature declares that he knows everything there is to know. To prove it he tells her that he is a pencil and she a cartwheel. The pencil (who looks nothing like a pencil) offers to teach Alice the names of things. Alice believes that she already knows the names of things, but the pencil is scornful. 'Only I know the true names!' he says, and proceeds to inform her of these. They're all wildly wrong, of course, and often quite ridiculous. This could be great fun for young readers and listeners, the illustrations perhaps dotted with bubbles or arrows declaring the pencil's names for objects and things that we have other names for. Children could be encouraged to apply new names to everyday objects as a game.


One day, when Alice woke up, she found that she'd turned into a jigsaw.

Yes! Really!

She jumped out of bed with a mighty gasp.

And guess happened when she did that.

All of her pieces flew apart.

There were pieces of Alice everywhere!

There were pieces on top of the wardrobe.

There were pieces on her rocking horse.

Pieces on her bedside table.

Pieces on Betty the Doll's house.

Pieces on her chest of drawers.

There were pieces on…

Well, everything.

Every thing

Every where.

Alice was shocked. Well of course she was. Who wouldn't be, upon finding that they'd turned into a jigsaw overnight, and then flown apart?

Her first thought was to scream.

But she didn't, because Alices don't scream (not often anyway).

Her second thought was to shout for help. But she didn't do that either, because she knew her mother would be upset to find her in so many pieces.

Her third thought was to try to put herself back together, piece by piece.

And that's what she set about doing.

It wasn't easy, especially with pieces of her all over the room. Then there was the problem of finding just the right pieces to fit together.

I mean, it's no good putting a pile of you there and another pile of you there and hoping that they jump together when they've had a good think about it and fit themselves snugly together once again.

It simply doesn't happen!

No, it's a slow and careful business.

First, a piece of hand must find another piece of hand and hope it's the right hand (or the left) and join to it before crawling off to find a bit of wrist.

And when the bit of wrist is in place there's the rest of the arm to find. And the rest of the arm might be in the wastepaper basket on the other side of the room.

So it's a long job.

Long, and full of mistakes.

But eventually, Alice managed it.


She was as put back together as she could ever hope to be again when she noticed something that made her gasp mightily for the second time that morning.

One of her pieces was missing!

The piece that contained her right ear.

She couldn't see it anywhere.

Or even hear it.

She scoured the room for the missing ear.

She looked high and low for it.

She looked low and high.

She looked here and there, and there and here.

She looked under and over, over and under.

She turned things out.

She reached and stretched.

She squatted.

She lay on her tum.

She looked under the bed.

But there was no sign of the ear anywhere.

'Oh!' wailed Alice. 'What will I do? Mum will be so angry if I tell her I've lost an ear. My best ear too!'

While she was wailing this, she happened to glance out of her bedroom window. And at once she stopped wailing. Instead she said, 'Well, I never.'

As well she might.

For there, sitting on top of the garden gate, was her favourite ear.

'Hmmm,' she said thoughtfully.

She needed to get the ear back before anyone noticed it was missing and told her off for losing it.  

So she crept to her bedroom door and looked out.

There was no one on the landing.

She crept downstairs.

Her sister was somewhere, but Alice didn't know where.

Mum was somewhere too, but she didn't know where she was either.

She crept to the back door and opened it quietly.

She could see the garden gate from there, but couldn't see the ear that had been on it when she looked out of the window upstairs.

But she was sure it would be near the gate. All she had to do was reach it and tell it off for leaving the house (and her head) without permission. Then she would simply slot it into place.

And be a complete person again. A complete Alice.

So she strolled along the garden path. 'What a nice day,' she thought to herself as she went. 'A good day to find your last ear.'

Ah. Pity about that.

Because when she reached the gate she found no sign of the ear.

'Oh, what now?' she cried.

But she knew very well what now. She would have to go off in search of it.

And that's precisely what she did.