Illustrated by John Rocco.
Published by Bantam, 1992, Hardback, first edition with dustjacket.
Very odd: Alice looks like an aging hooker…
From the dustjacket:
Listen up – you’re about to lose control on a topsy-turvy adventure with a girl named Alice, one very cool, semi-invisible rabbit, a card-playing misfit with some serious headgear, and the wickedest queen you’ve ever seen! “Wait just one minute,” you say, “I’ve heard this story before.” Baby, you’ve never heard it like this. This tale is told by Whoopi Goldberg, the most outrageous storyteller around. This isn’t Wonderland, it’s the big, bad city. And these characters aren’t like any you’ve ever met. You’re about to find out that this town is bursting with crazy surprises. See, Alice has won a mysterious prize worth big bucks that she’s sure will change her life forever. But first she’s got to claim it – in person. Take off with Alice down streets where bendy buildings wave over your head. Watch the kaleidoscope colors of graffiti fly by on the subway. Even stop off at a diner that shrinks up smaller than your lunchbox. Just don’t linger too long over that tiny hamburger (even if those loony twin waiters do crack you up) because there’s a snooty uptown queen who’s just itching to snatch the prize ticket away from Alice. Join some new friends in a dizzying race against time that’s sure to mess up your hairdo and remind you that wild and wonderful things can happen in worlds as nearby as your very own neighborhood.
Review from Michael Cart, formerly at Beverly Hills Public Library (that I tend to agree with):
Goldberg’s first literary effort is compromised in several important ways: first of all, as its title suggests, the book attempts to be an urban pastiche of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland . This would be okay if the device were integral to the plot or even to the spirit and tone of the book. Unfortunately, it is neither. A second problem is that its premise is tired and its resolution predictable: the eponymous hero, Alice, is a young African-American girl living in New Jersey (well, at least the text tells us she’s young; in the illustrations she looks as if she’s about 42) who wants to be rich. Why she wants this is unclear, since she lives in a “nice” single-family house on a “nice” suburban street. Nevertheless, she enters countless sweepstakes and, no surprise, one day she receives a notification that she is a “WINNER.” To collect her prize she must go to New York City. Gathering up her friends (a Mad Hatter look-alike named Robin and an invisible rabbit–borrowed from the play “Harvey”), off she goes to the Mean Streets. There she meets a greedy rich woman who tries to steal her winning ticket; and, of course, it turns out that the sweepstakes is a scam and, of course, Alice comes to realize that she is already rich–in friendship. This is not only tired but trite, especially since Alice doesn’t learn this lesson herself; instead a fortune-teller informs her. The biggest problem of all, however, is that this is not a book for children; it’s a commercial package, which, in its style and sensibility–especially as captured in Rocco’s stridently expressionistic illustrations–is designed to appeal to adults shopping in a retail store.
Available on Amazon: Alice