Jabberwocky

Description

40 pages
$18.95
ISBN 1-55337-079-1
DDC j821'.8

Publisher

Year

2004

Contributor

Illustrations by Stéphane Jorisch
Reviewed by Anne Hutchings

Anne Hutchings, a former elementary-school teacher-librarian with the
Durham Board of Education, is an educational consultant.

Review

Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky has long been a favourite of young
children, its marvellous nonsense words making a game of language.
Previous illustrated versions have emphasized the fanciful nature of the
poem. In this volume, Jorisch focuses on the mysteriousness of the poem
and suggests a much darker side to what we have previously perceived as
lighthearted verse.

Done in pencil, ink, watercolour, and Adobe Photoshop, Jorisch’s
images are unsettling. We see grim-faced people, heads bowed, shoulders
hunched. In a store window, banks of TV screens are all tuned to the
same military-uniformed newscaster repeating the same fear-inspiring
message as peg-legged street people, with their patched coats and
whiskey bottles peeking out of their bundle buggies, perhaps veterans of
another conflict, watch stoically. The image of a fearsome
dinosaur-jawed creature flashes on another TV screen as a soldier-father
urges his son, “Beware the Jabberwock!” Spurred to action by the
constant bombardment from the media and his father’s entreaties, the
“hero” sets out to hunt down, and with much blood and gore, destroy
the monster. Finally, we see what is perhaps the most disturbing image
of all—young children poking at a small, headless, rabbit-like
creature.

Jorisch’s illustrations, though startling, are nonetheless stunning.
However, with his unique interpretation of Carroll’s familiar verse,
this is definitely not a picture book for young children. It is more
appropriate for readers at the junior, intermediate, and even senior
levels. Highly recommended.

Citation

Carroll, Lewis., “Jabberwocky,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/23306.