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Curiouser and curiouser: Alice in Wonderland through the iPad

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YouTube video of Atomic Antelope's Alice in Wonderland app for the iPad

Lewis Carroll's classic Alice in Wonderland has never been out of print in the 145 years since first publication. It has made the leap from print to the big screen, then to the small screen and the even smaller screen. Now it has arrived on the iPhone and the iPad.

The recent Apple iPad release of Alice in Wonderland by Atomic Antelope introduced a new era of interactive reading. With digitally remastered versions of the original illustrations done by John Tenniel, this version of Alice includes 20 pages of images that shake, react, and change with the reader's movements. All of a sudden, this 1865 classic has morphed into something reminiscent of Harry Potter's The Daily Prophet.

This isn't Alice's first foray into the digital world of new media. When my book club was assigned Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and it's sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass, I took advantage of the Gutenberg Project and sought out a free version of the two stories (I am a student after all.)

The solution was right in my hands, literally. I used Beamitdown to download a version for my iPhone. Wary of the ability to read on such a small screen despite my “young eyes”, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to speed through both stories. On the bus on my way to and from work/school, I managed to whip through both stories in a matter of days.

Bringing this fact up with my fellow book club-ers, I found that half of my friends had done the same thing. Those who didn't have a smartphone went a more traditional route, buying wonderfully crafted hardcover editions complete with illustrations and interpretations. This created an interesting dichotomy at our club meeting and spurred a great discussion about technology, rather than the underlying meanings of the white rabbit.

How does technology fit into the future of literacy? As an avid eBook reader (and future iPad reader) it is my earnest hope that technology and literacy will become symbiotic as opposed to incompatible. Technology has such a potential power to inspire literature and reading in those who might otherwise avoid it.

The work that both Atomic Antelope and Beamitdown have done with Alice and Wonderland is a prime example. They have used technology such as the iPhone and the iPad to rejuvinate Lewis Carroll's classic tale and bring it forward to the youth of this era. With a mentality such as this, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland will remain a classic for another 145 years.

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