Told through the voice of Mary Ann, the White Rabbit's housemaid, this graphic novel picks up where Alice's story ends. Mary Ann is compulsive about her cleaning, after all, she is a maid, and that is precisely what amused me so much about this book. While Wonderland is the same as Carroll's original creation with appearances from the Cheshire Cat, Queen of Hearts, the Jabberwock, and others, it's Mary Ann's docile personality that grounds the ridiculous happenings of the story - and I love the contrast.
The story begins with Mary Ann frantically trying to launder a spot off her apron because she detests uncleanliness and insists on a crisp, clean outfit. She is late in attending to the White Rabbit, who is oblivious to the fact that the Queen of Hearts is after his head for associating with the Alice Monster and who is about to show up at his door. After the Queen barges into the White Rabbit's house and accidentally dirties Mary Ann's now clean apron, Mary Ann bops her on the head in a fit of rage and must flee to safety with the White Rabbit. Thus, their adventures begin.
The illustrations in this book are pencil drawn and digitally inked - with magical, muted yet vibrant colors to convey all that is Wonderland. I could flip through (and smell - oh, how good they smell!) the pages all day every day; they are that pleasing to my senses. The story itself is suffused with Carroll's witty, wry humor that will be appreciated by teens and adults alike. At parts, I could not suppress my giggles of delight. Mary Ann is such an ordinary character in a world of chaos, peculiarity, and indulgence. And of course, that is why I love her and the comedic genius of Kovac. I would recommend this book to just about anyone.
I expect that there will be renewed interest in Carroll's original tale as well as the myriad of spin-offs and retellings since Tim Burton's version will entrance us all come March 5, 2010. I might just have to re-read the classic myself!