January 29, 2007

Celebrate Lewis Carroll's Birthday!

Lewis Carroll was born Charles Dodgson on January 27, 1832 in England. He made his living as an English Mathematician, but wrote comic verse on the side. In 1856, Dodgson submitted a list of pseudonyms to an editor and "Lewis Carroll" was chosen. Under this name he wrote many stories, poetry, and novels, including Alice in Wonderland. It was originally titled Alice's Adventures Underground. Research his background through the Fauquier County Public Library databases and books to find out more. FCPL owns several different publications of this work, as well as it's sequel, Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.
If you are an artist or aspiring editor, check out these variations of covers, illustrations, and text.


The poem The Jabberwocky is taught in most school districts across the country. Read it below and try out your acting skills with this activity:

Divide into three groups + one narrator:
#1 group will act out the proud father
#2 group will act out the brave son
#3 group will be a wild beast, the Jabberwock
+ narrator who will read the poem dramatically

Substitute the narrator with the CD track from Poetry Speaks to Children (J 811.008 POE). This version includes melodramatic music in the background to set the scene. Consider costumes. How few changes can you make to your appearance to suggest each character? A bold stance, a growling sound, a sword... Try large groups for a ridiculous effect and fun. Or check out more humorous poetry to transform into plays by Ogden Nash, Edward Lear, or Shel Silverstein.

Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll
(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Related Links:

The Lewis Carroll Society of North America (http://www.lewiscarroll.org/)

Looking for Lewis Carroll (http://www.lookingforlewiscarroll.com/)

Britain Express (http://www.britainexpress.com/History/bio/carroll.htm)

Wikipedia's encyclopedia article on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_in_Wonderland)