Several years ago, I purchased a graphic adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by illustrator Camille Rose Garcia. Using what she describes as her “layered, broken narrative paintings of wasteland fairy tales,” Garcia’s artwork infuses Carroll’s classic work with a modern, punk feel. I purchased the book mainly because I was drawn to Garcia’s unique artwork and only later realized that I have never actually read Carroll’s work from cover to cover.
So, I have a daughter, who just turned five, and a son, who is three, and despite that this book is advanced for their ages, I decided that I wanted to read it to them. I wasn’t certain they would understand or be able to follow the story, but I wanted to give it a try.
So, one night, before bed, I started reading to them Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. My goal was hopefully to get through the first chapter. When I started reading both my son and daughter became completely silent. As I read, I glanced at them several times and their eyes were open wide, captivated by the story. Before I knew it, I had finished the first chapter. When I attempted to put the book down for the evening, my daughter pleaded with me to read another chapter. So, I did, and then another chapter, and three chapters later, I told them it was time to go to sleep so I closed the book and promised them we would read it again the next night. The next night my daughter brought me the book, clearly excited to continue the story, and so we continued on and have read it every night since.
I was ecstatic to discover that a book with so many words, written at a level that was far advanced for their ages could capture their attention and keep them spellbound for the duration of three chapters. And that they would want to continue the story. At the same time, I found myself wanting to continue the story as well. I too was mesmerized by the magical world that Lewis Carroll created.
This story is important because it demonstrates that both young children and older adults can become captivated by the same story of a magical place filled with adventure and characters. Camp demonstrates the same thing. Each opening day of camp, at least a handful of former campers, who are dropping off their children for camp, come up the steps and tell me how just being at camp takes them back to when they were young campers at Eagle’s Nest. That same magic of a place carries them back to the time they spent at camp oh so many years ago. There are few places as an adult where I can go and feel like I have entered a magical wonderland. Camp is definitely one of those places, and I am grateful that it exists both for me and my children. I hope to see you all there this summer!
By Molly Herrmann