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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
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*****The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Book 1 of The Chronicles of Narnia

by C. S. Lewis

Reviewed September 1, 2003.
Scholastic, New York, 1995.  First published in 1950.  189 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (JF LEW)
A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out of 2003:  #1, Young Adult and Children's Fantasy Old Favorites

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to review The Chronicles of Narnia.  For that matter, I’m amazed it’s taken me this long to read them to my youngest son.  We had been reading to both kids at the same time, and we’d already read them to his older brother more than once.  Besides, he was planning to read them on his own, but only got through the first book.  (The first in the new edition is actually the sixth in the order that C. S. Lewis wrote them.  I simply had to read them in the traditional order, even though the new editions put them in the order that the events happen in Narnian time.)

Even though they are paperback, the new edition includes ALL the original illustrations by Pauline Baynes, not just one per chapter, as our old paperback edition did.

I first read The Chronicles of Narnia in approximately fourth grade.  I remember that my older brother and sister read them first, and liked them so much that I had to try them, too.  It turned out that our church library had them, as well as the public library.  I lost track of how many times I read them.  Finally, when I was in junior high, I decided with regret that I had outgrown the Narnia books.

By the time I was in college, I had outgrown that silly attitude, and I discovered a whole new dimension to the Narnia books, the spiritual truths that the wise author embedded inside them.  As I grew older, I got to experience the new delight of sharing the books with my own sons.  If I had to make a list of my top ten favorite books, this set (I couldn’t possibly exclude any of them, so I’d cheat and count them as one.) would definitely be on that list.

C. S. Lewis took an idea that had fascinated him from childhood—a world where animals could talk and mythical creatures were alive—and he asked himself what it would be like if Jesus came to that world.  The books are not allegories, but they do contain riches of insight as to what God is like, as seen by one of his intelligent and dedicated servants.

The adventure begins when Lucy opens the door of a wardrobe and finds herself in a magical world, a world where the White Witch has made it always winter and never Christmas.  Next, her brother Edmund finds his way into Narnia, but he meets the White Witch and falls under her spell.  Finally, all four of the children, including Peter and Susan, the oldest two, find their way into Narnia.  With the help of Aslan, they must work to save Narnia from the evil spell of the White Witch.

After having just read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, this book seemed much shorter than I had remembered it!  This is the essential magical tale, and no kid who reads it will ever look at a closet door the same way again.

Reviews of other books by C. S. Lewis:

Book 2 of The Chronicles of Narnia:  Prince Caspian
Book 3 of The Chronicles of Narnia:  The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Book 4 of The Chronicles of Narnia:  The Silver Chair
Book 5 of The Chronicles of Narnia:  The Horse and His Boy
Book 6 of The Chronicles of Narnia:  The Magician's Nephew
Book 7 of The Chronicles of Narnia:  The Last Battle
The Last Battle performed by Patrick Stewart
Out of the Silent Planet
That Hideous Strength
Of Other Worlds
Till We Have Faces
The Great Divorce
A Year With C. S. Lewis

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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