In his introduction to The Annotated Alice, Martin Gardner writes:
The fact is that Carroll’s nonsense is not nearly as random and pointless as it seems to a modern American child who tries to read the Alice books. One says “tries” because the time is past when a child under fifteen, even in England, can read Alice with the same delight as gained from, say, The Wind in the Willows or The Wizard of Oz. Children today are bewildered and sometimes frightened by the nightmarish atmosphere of Alice’s dreams. It is only because adults — scientists and mathematicians in particular — continue to relish the Alice books that they are assured of immortality.
Fortunately, we gave Kenny an un-annotated Alice, so he doesn’t know he isn’t supposed to enjoy it. I’m not going to claim Kenny is any sort of remarkable prodigy, but I certainly am pleased that, at age 8 1/2, he has read and liked not only Alice but Narnia, Just So Stories, The Hobbit, and about ten of the Oz books. Indeed, there was a significant chunk of last year when he’d read almost nothing but Oz. We haven’t succeeded in turning him on to The Bromeliad yet, but maybe soon.