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Monday, May 27, 2024
NEWS  |  CAMPUS

UF Library hosts 'Alice in Wonderland' event to promote children's literature

A smartly dressed white rabbit walked across the Plaza of the Americas and pulled out his gold pocket watch to check the time.

The rabbit, who sported square spectacles and a red polka-dotted necktie, was followed by Alice, who wore a blue-and-white dress trimmed with ruffles.

The famous "Alice in Wonderland" characters paraded on the plaza Wednesday and invited guests to join them for tea to promote "The Afterlife of Alice in Wonderland" exhibit at Smathers Library.

The two characters from Lewis Carroll's children's story were played by John Ingram, interim director of university libraries, and Cari Keebaugh, a UF doctoral candidate, respectively.

The storybook event featured the exhibit, a tea party reception and a performance in Smathers Library.

At the tea party, guests snacked on black-and-white petits fours, iced Danish pastries and cookies.

Guests also drank hot and cold teas as the people playing Alice, the Hatter, the Hare and the Dormouse performed the scene, "A Mad Tea Party" from Chapter 7 of "Alice in Wonderland."

"I love 'Alice in Wonderland' because the whole story is so unpredictable, and every bit of nonsense is fantastically written," Keebaugh said.

A silent auction of twelve posters with illustrations from "Alice" editions dating from 1866 through 1999 was held to benefit the Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature at UF.

The library owns 160 different editions of "Alice in Wonderland," making it one of the largest collections of its kind in the country.

Rita Smith, curator of the Baldwin Library, established the exhibit and event to promote the collection of children's literature in the library, which includes early editions of works such as "Pinocchio," "The Secret Garden," "Winnie The Pooh" and "The Wizard of Oz."

The centerpiece of the exhibit was a rare Salvador Dali-illustrated edition of "Alice in Wonderland."

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"The story of Alice's fall into the rabbit hole into a place where nothing is quite as it should be is a perfect match for Dali's dreamlike images," Smith said.

The book has not been out of print since its first publication in the 1860s and is often considered to be one of the most significant works of children's literature, said Kenneth Kidd, a UF associate professor and speaker at the event.

"Alice has transcended our society, not just in literature but also in opera, music, symphonies, ballets, film and video games," Kidd said.

The exhibit will last through Dec.15.

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