Vincent in Wonderland by CE White, a review

Vincent in Wonderland, a tale for middle grade, is quite a surprise. Vincent Van Gogh, age 11, meets Alice, age 12. They each chase a white rabbit into a hole and find themselves together in Wonderland, also called Sian in this story.

It’s no ordinary white rabbit. Perhaps he’s an angel? He tells them he doesn’t normally have a body. He forgot to give himself two ears, for example, and so he only has one. He offers them a job: using their new gifts and a special sword, rescue Sian from the Jabberwock, which wants to destroy the young world.

It takes a bit of time and tale for this quest to take on urgency, since our protagonists don’t feel threatened personally at first. But the story pace picks up as we meet the caterpillar, the Cheshire cat, some slithy toves, the bandersnatch, and other features from Alice in Wonderland and the poem Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll. And finally, the killer Jabberwock itself, visible only to Vincent.

Young Vincent struggles with his new gift of seeing things as they really are. Does he want this gift, showing him wild beauty in the night sky but also some scary things? What happens if he refuses it?

I enjoyed Vincent in Wonderland. What an interesting mashup! I loved all the quotes from Van Gogh and the references to Lewis Carroll. Having once memorized Jabberwocky, I was delighted to find pieces of it woven into the structure of the story.

For Christian homeschoolers, I found a good story (written by a Christian), with clear delineation of good and evil, alongside some interesting biographical information about Van Gogh. It’s a good solid attempt to see the world through Van Gogh’s eyes.

4.5 stars.

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