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$13,110 pledged of $25,000 goal
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By John Langdon
$13,110 pledged of $25,000 goal
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About this project

The first pages of the opening chapter.
The first pages of the opening chapter.

Alice and the Graceful White Rabbit is a contemporary, yet faithful retelling of Lewis Carroll's classic tale. With varying degrees of subtlety, my new version embeds tons of puns and other wordplay, including more than 600 references to the songs and artists that make up the history of Rock and Roll from the 1950s to the present. 

Many of the puns and references to song titles, lyrics, and artists from Rock and Roll history are easy and fun to discover... 

Of course, a few may be a little more challenging and some you might have to ask your children, while others, well, your mother should know.

I wrote Alice and the Graceful White Rabbit because I love language and wordplay — and Lewis Carroll was an inspiring master of both. He wrote about things that seem familiar and yet turn out to be somewhat different than what we expected.

Wordplay from Alice and the Graceful White Rabbit, Chapter VII, Afternoon Tea.
Wordplay from Alice and the Graceful White Rabbit, Chapter VII, Afternoon Tea.

In Alice and the Graceful White Rabbit, I’ve tried to do the same. I have taken his universally familiar classic tale, and made it different — I’ve translated it into contemporary English with many plays-on-words, double entendres, and allusions to life in the era of Rock and Roll — much the way Carroll made sly and playful references to life in his Victorian England.

I think you you will have a lot of fun reading Alice and the Graceful White Rabbit and discovering for yourself what's hidden within. And, if you like, you may participate more actively in the experience — I have designed the book so you can annotate in the margins what you’ve found, hand-color the pen-and-ink illustrations, and create a personal record of your time with this Rock and Roll Wonderland of ours.

Designed so you can highlight, annotate, and draw about what you've discovered...
Designed so you can highlight, annotate, and draw about what you've discovered...
...or perhaps underline and paste in pictures of the artists and albums you've found!
...or perhaps underline and paste in pictures of the artists and albums you've found!

You see, I often read books with a pencil at hand. I like to highlight interesting words or clever phrases I want to remember and revisit. I like to add my own thoughts, reactions, ideas, drawings, and other marginalia that come to mind while reading. That way, when I finish a book, I have a record of the experience that I can return to again and again, and share with the next person who reads it. With new discoveries each time you enter this Wonderland, perhaps you might enjoy doing the same.

(As a matter of fact, I will reward one very generous backer with my own fully annotated version of Martin Gardner’s The Annotated Alice, complete with my notes, a few hand-drawn ambigrams, and other ideas I used as I wrote Alice and the Graceful White Rabbit. By the way, Martin Gardner wrote the Foreword to my first book, Wordplay.)

I will send my personal copy of Martin Gardner's The Annotated Alice to one generous backer!
I will send my personal copy of Martin Gardner's The Annotated Alice to one generous backer!

The writing is finished and the book is now being illustrated...

Alice and the Graceful White Rabbit is completely written and edited and is being illustrated in pen-and-ink by Glenn Mayer. There will be 12 full-page illustrations and lots of smaller illustrations. You can read and see a sample of the first 6 pages of Chapter I here: http://dashalltallyho.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/AatGWR-Sample-Chapter.pdf 

Here is a sample of the illustrations...

 Early reviews have been positive...

 As an added incentive...

I have designed the word "Wonderland" as an ambigram -- that is, a word that can be read from more than one point of view (in this case, upside down as well as right-side up). As part of the $50, $100, $250, and $1,000 rewards, I will affix a signed and numbered copy of the printed ambigram to a random 45 rpm record from my collection. Impress your friends! Throw it on a turntable and watch it spin hypnotically! Or frame it as a curious and provocative objet d'art

My new "Wonderland" ambigram, signed and affixed to a 45 rpm record from my collection -- suitable for framing! (Frame not included.)
My new "Wonderland" ambigram, signed and affixed to a 45 rpm record from my collection -- suitable for framing! (Frame not included.)

Why Kickstarter? What will the funds be used for? 

I chose Kickstarter because this book doesn’t really fit the traditional publishing model. Yes, it is a retelling of a classic work. But it is also something of a humorous puzzle. I wanted to participate actively in conceiving the illustrations. And the book will be designed so readers can write and draw in the margins and hand-color the illustrations. Rather than settling for economical production, I want the book to be something that will look good and be treasured forever.

(The hardcover edition, without printed dust jacket. For illustrative purposes only.)
(The hardcover edition, without printed dust jacket. For illustrative purposes only.)

Most important, Kickstarter funds will be used to send copies to reviewers and will be used to promote Alice and the Graceful White Rabbit to online and independent booksellers. Approximately 60% of the funding will be used to print the book; 20% of the funding will be used to compensate the illustrator; and 20% will be used for Kickstarter fees and mailing.

The Creative Team...

John Langdon, author. I’m a word guy. I write, draw, design, and paint words for most of my waking hours. I am best known for my ambigrams, an art form I pioneered in the 1970s and which were the focus of my 1992 book, Wordplay (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, reprinted in 2005 by Broadway Books). I created the ambigrams for Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons, and I’m the namesake for Dan’s perennial protagonist, symbologist Robert Langdon.

My first book, published by Harcourt in 1992 and reprinted by Broadway Books in 2005; also, examples of my ambigrams -- words that are specially designed in such a way as to allow readability from more than one point of view.
My first book, published by Harcourt in 1992 and reprinted by Broadway Books in 2005; also, examples of my ambigrams -- words that are specially designed in such a way as to allow readability from more than one point of view.

Glenn Mayer, illustrator. Glenn Mayer has been drawing in pen and ink semi-professionally for 40+ years. He started doing marketing work while still in high school, and then became the political cartoonist for the Dartmouth College newspaper. He has continued pursuing his love of illustration, finding inspiration in the work of Franklin Booth, Charles Dana Gibson, and Joseph Clement Coll, among others. Glenn's latest projects also include "Sticks and Stones," a solo exhibit featuring portraits and landscapes, and illustrations for his daughter's first novel, Eulogy

Glenn Mayer (self-portrait, center), and two of his pen-and-ink illustrations (left and right).
Glenn Mayer (self-portrait, center), and two of his pen-and-ink illustrations (left and right).

View more of Glenn's work here: http://outsidelogic.deviantart.com.

Dashall & Tallyho, book design and publishing. Richard Payne and Chandler Driggs of Dashall & Tallyho have decades of experience in art direction, design, production, and creative consultation in communications and publishing.

Risks and challenges

My life has been spent creating things. In my commissioned work creating logos and custom ambigrams, several hundred individuals, small businesses and large corporations have trusted my artistic vision and my ability to deliver – from Dan Brown, John Mayer and Jefferson Starship, to AARP, Honeywell, and Sony Pictures. I have written numerous articles, book forwards, and talks. I wrote my first book, Wordplay, and saw it through publishing by Harcourt and reprinting by Broadway Books. 

As a result, I’ve seen my share of obstacles and have been tireless and creative in overcoming them. But I’ve also learned the importance of a good support team. For Alice and the Graceful White Rabbit, I’ve engaged a pretty darn smart group to assist in idea generation, art direction, estimating, production planning, printing, and fulfillment. Together, we know what goes into bringing a creative project to life, and we believe we’ve taken all of the variables into account.

Still, hiccups are inevitable. In any multi-stage endeavor, delays are always possible. So we’re being conservative in our projected delivery date. Along the path, frequent communication will be a key to maintaining your trust and I promise to update you on all project milestones and reply to any of the questions you post in the project’s comments section.

I am confident that you will absolutely love the book you’re generously helping to create!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Thank you!

    Your support is sincerely appreciated! As thanks, you'll receive two Alice and the Graceful White Rabbit bookmarks and postcards.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Hardcover Edition

    An 8"x10" Smyth-sewn hardcover edition of Alice and the Graceful White Rabbit with foil-stamped cover, dust jacket, and ribbon marker.

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    Hardcover Edition and "Wonderland" 45

    An 8"x10" Smyth-sewn hardcover edition of Alice and the Graceful White Rabbit with foil-stamped cover, dust jacket, and ribbon marker.

    Includes:
    • "Wonderland" ambigram affixed to 45 rpm record.
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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Deluxe Hardcover Edition

    An 8"x10" Smyth-sewn, bonded leather hardcover edition of Alice and the Graceful White Rabbit with foil-stamped cover, ribbon marker, and signed by the author.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Deluxe Hardcover and "Wonderland" 45

    An 8"x10" Smyth-sewn, bonded leather hardcover edition of Alice and the Graceful White Rabbit with foil-stamped cover, ribbon marker, and signed by the author.

    Includes:
    • "Wonderland" ambigram affixed to random 45 rpm record.
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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Deluxe Hardcover, plus an Illustration

    An 8"x10" Smyth-sewn bonded leather hardcover edition of Alice and the Graceful White Rabbit with foil-stamped cover, ribbon marker, and signed by the author, PLUS a personalized original pen-and-ink drawing of your choice of characters from the book, signed by the illustrator.

    Includes:
    • "Wonderland" ambigram affixed to random 45 rpm record.
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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Langdon's Copy of The Annotated Alice

    John Langdon’s personal copy of Martin Gardner’s The Annotated Alice, filled with Langdon’s notes and sketches, made while writing Alice and the Graceful White Rabbit AND the 8”x10” Smyth-sewn, bonded leather hardcover edition of Alice and the Graceful White Rabbit with foil-stamped cover, ribbon marker, and signed by the author and illustrator.

    Includes:
    • "Wonderland" ambigram affixed to random 45 rpm record.
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    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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Funding period

- (30 days)