I'm afraid I have a bit of a confession to make. I undertook the prospect of writing a review of The Wonderland Tarot with the bias that I would be deeply disappointed. To the contrary, I am pleasantly surprised and quite impressed.
The collaborative team of Christopher and Morgana Abbey beautifully adapted the style and flavor of Sir John Tenniel's illustrations of Lewis Carroll's work to fit the typical Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) system. The Major and Minor Arcanas are fully illustrated, facilitating the work of a reader who is familiar with the RWS symbolism. Of course, the replacement of the suits occasionally gives the reader pause (The Swords, Staves, Cups, and Pentacles are now Flamingos, Peppermills, Hats, and Oysters, respectively), but once the reader accommodates to that alteration, this deck is found to be quite easy with which to work.
Printed on rather thin board, the color and style of these cards provide a somewhat Victorianesque feel that may be quite appealing to many readers. One of the considerable benefits of this deck, however, is that the cards themselves are the approximate size of a standard playing deck. Readers who permit the querant to shuffle the cards may appreciate this, as many non-readers (indeed, as well as some readers!) have a difficult time shuffling the slightly larger sized cards that are characteristic of most Tarot decks. Individuals with more mundane plans for this deck are additionally fortunate in that the playing-card equivalent of the Minor Arcana is notated in the borders of each of the appropriate cards (e.g., the “Five of Spades” is noted in the border of the Five of Flamingos).
Although best suited for someone who already possesses a bit of Tarot acumen, the little white book (LWB) included with the deck should be particularly helpful to those not already acquainted with Alice and her adventures. Each card is well-described in terms of its depiction of characters and suggested divinatory meanings. The LWB offers only the standard description of the Celtic Cross spread, but is adequate by most accounts.
In sum, the Wonderland Tarot is a
surprisingly pleasant deck that provides a whimsical
atmosphere, familiar symbolism, and convenience in handling.
This is a marvelous combination for any Tarot deck.