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Alice in Wonderland

(13 Posts)
kittyhudson123 Fri 14-Nov-14 01:56:48

Hi,

I'm a design student at the University of Leeds, and I'm currently completing a project to design a new cover and illustrative spread for Alice in Wonderland, aimed at 5-9 year old girls.

I was hoping to gain an insight on:
-What it is about Alice in Wonderland that you feel would, or would not, make it a suitable gift for your child?
-What books does your 5-9 year old girl currently read?
-What element on a book cover would most encourage you to buy it for your 5-9 year old girl ie. colour scheme, font, illustrations
- What tone of voice would best encourage you to buy the book ie. playful, happy, intellectual, girly, alternative, encouraging

Any comments about this topic would be greatly appreciated smile
Thanks so much for your time,
Kitty

Thumbwitch Fri 14-Nov-14 02:18:00

Hmm. I don't have a daughter but I don't particularly think that Alice In Wonderland should be restricted to "just girls".

For that reason I would be mightily pissed off if I saw that the cover was completely angled towards girls - there are plenty of non-female characters in there that could appeal to boys as well, and highlighting those on the covers as well as Alice might make the book more unisex in appeal.

I would equally be pissed off with a "girly" tone - the book should be described as a fantasy, fascinating, wonderful (Wonderland of course!), and so on - with all the different types of characters that she will meet along the way.

schmalex Fri 14-Nov-14 06:56:39

I don't have girls either but if I did, I would rather they read 'unisex' books. A girly cover would just put off boys from reading a great book.

Google Let Books Be Books!

LeopardInABobbleHat Fri 14-Nov-14 07:14:30

You risk putting off girls who don't like 'girly' books too, if you aim it at the stereotypical Girl market.

Slubberdegullion Fri 14-Nov-14 08:03:30

Oh God, yes yes yes to what everyone else has said. Please don't market this book for girls, it would put me off. Anything pink, lilac, curly script, glitter, shoes, making the rabbit all cutesy.

I rather the like the illustrator who works on Neil Gaiman's children's books. Can't remember his name atm. I'm drawn to those covers as they hint that the story is going to be a bit twisty and dark, as well as weird and funny, which is of course what Alice is.

Have you thought about not putting Alice on the front? The mad hatter is a pretty cool character who appeals to one of my dds more than blonde Alice in a hairband would.

As an aside OP have you seen the Royal Ballet's version of Alice in Wonderland? It's coming up again in cinemas for a live viewing performance again this winter. There is an amazing scene in there, the section of the book where she shrinks and then grows enormous, where to convey this the ballet dancer is kind of contorted in a doorway. Whenever I think of Alice now I get a flash of that image, with her legs all bent at odd angles. Put that image somehow on a cover and my dds would pick it up. They like the creepy though grin

Slubberdegullion Fri 14-Nov-14 08:05:02

Chris Riddell is the illustrator my dc like.

sanfairyanne Fri 14-Nov-14 17:18:38

sadly my dd would go for the whole pink cutsie thing blush

kittyhudson123 Fri 14-Nov-14 18:04:11

Thanks so much with all of your help - this is all very helpful smile
The brief specifically wanted the target audience to be girls, but I agree that our society should be moving away from binary oppositions & therefore creating more unisex books, just because it appeals to girls doesn't mean it needs to isolate boys. I also feel the original illustrations of Alice are quite outdated now, portraying her as quite naive - perhaps if I was to create an image of Alice, she could be made into an image that children today can identify with, even just by using simple tweaks such as wearing jeans instead of a dress, then perhaps she could be seen as more of a stronger female role.
What's your opinion on these ideas?
Thanks again,
Kitty

LeopardInABobbleHat Fri 14-Nov-14 18:09:58

Nah, Tenniel's illustrations aren't outdated, they are of the time and the best illustration of the books. I don't think she looks 'naive' at all. I certainly wouldn't want some weird TraceyBeaker/Bratz-erisation of her.

If I saw Alice in jeans? It wouldn't be Alice.

You can reduce the story and tweak it only so far before it stops being Lewis Carroll's Alice.

sanfairyanne Fri 14-Nov-14 18:16:20

love chris riddell, could be quite goth n spiky
or how about wimpy kid/nerd girl cartoon style?

Thumbwitch Fri 14-Nov-14 21:30:23

I see what you're saying but I mostly agree with Leopard - the story is from a specific time and really the illustrations should reflect that to a large extent.
Whatever you do choose to do though, you ought to leave the Alice Band in place (since that's where it got its name), something that Tim Burton didn't manage! He definitely removed the "naive" from Alice's dress in his film, but it just made her seem older, I think (well she was anyway, she isn't a little girl in that film!)

So your brief is to target the girls (you'd have to ask yourself why - how limiting!) but you also have to remember that girls are not a homogenous mass any more than adults are, so you still need to cater for the tomboys as much as the girlies. You could get around the dress problem by just doing a head and shoulders of Alice with some of the characters around her, instead of a whole girl figure.

Thumbwitch Fri 14-Nov-14 21:31:28

Also, putting a girl in trousers doesn't make her look "stronger" - that just panders to the separation of the sexes, IMO. Boys are not inherently "stronger".

AnimatedDad Mon 17-Nov-14 20:25:17

I imagine the conversation I'd have with an editor if I was trying to get Alice In Wonderland published today:

"its a book about a girl who wanders round drinking medicine she finds lying around and eating toadstools"

"next!"

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