Through the literary looking glass with "Alice in Wonderland"

Will there ever be another heroine with the staying power of Alice?

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    Worldwide ticket sales for the weekend opening of "Alice in Wonderland" broke all previous records.
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Certain children’s books have a staying power beyond their own era, but few have as tenacious a hold on our hearts as Lewis Carroll’s creation: the heroine of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," the girl Mark Twain called “the immortal Alice.”

With the release of "Alice in Wonderland," Tim Burton’s “contemporary, subversive take on a cherished story,” yet another creative soul has seized upon Alice’s curiouser and curiouser world. That brings the tally to some two dozen feature film incarnations, 100+ versions of the book, plus TV shows, trinkets, and endless broader cultural influences, according to The Los Angeles Times.

The Times took on the question of why Alice has remained such a lasting phenomenon through the last 145 years, and came up with some theories worth debating. Perhaps it’s the gutsy, self-sufficient heroine, or the playful “inherent weirdness” of the tale, the Times said – or perhaps it’s the book’s very malleability, “such well-crafted nonsense that, in the words of Humpty Dumpty in his wall-top dialogue with Alice in 'Through the Looking Glass': It 'means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less' ?"

When it comes to ticket sales for "Alice in Wonderland," the answer is definitely, "More." The movie broke records when it opened last weekend, drawing enough viewers to sell $210.3 million tickets worldwide.

Will any heroine of today’s children’s bestsellers – Bella? Hermione? – hold such a place in readers' hearts a century from now?

Rebekah Denn blogs at

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