Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Why I Read It: Reading the series with my kindergartner as "chapter books."

Summary: Four children in World War II London are hustled out of the city and into the home of an elderly man, where they find a magical wardrobe.

My Thoughts: Perhaps it's just the struggling dad in me, trying to find the next great great story to tell, but it seems the concept comes naturally. A child peeks into something and finds another world. For us, it's been everything from a glass of milk to an imaginary tube in the vernal pool behind our house. Of course, since my little guy's world is populated with pop culture characters, the tube leads to Mario and Luigi, and the world on the other side of the glass of milk was Minecraft.

But those worlds just got him warmed up for Narnia. While there was a language barrier to hurdle (quickly changing "Father Christmas" to "Santa," for instance; yes, he makes an appearance in the book), the story is action-packed enough to be fun for his little mind. Even just the concept of swords, shields and potions of healing get him thinking. Powerful talking lions and evil witches just add to the fun.

A few things went over his head, like the concept of the non-passage of time, like when the children emerge from the wardrobe after what felt like years inside, only to find that they had not aged at all. But the basic concept of good and evil is there, of triumph over adversity. I hope he is having enough fun to consider reading them again in the future. I'll be sure the books are packed away so that he can.

For some reason, I had never read these books before, so it's an exploration for me, too. I was certainly a fantasy and Sci-Fi geek as a kid, but perhaps I just discovered Lewis a bit too late. I'm glad I'm getting the chance to relive a little of my childhood for the first time, sharing it with my son.


  1. Kudos to you for reading to your kids. We read to our boys from the time they were born and it was a nice way to end the day.

    One of our all time favorites was a series by Arthur Ransome. It starts with a book called Swallows and Amazons about a family who vacations in the Lake District in England in 1929. The four oldest children are given permission to camp on an island in the lake. They use a little boat named Swallow to get back and forth to get supplies and sail around the lake. They notice another small boat and think of them as pirates (Amazons). It is a great adventure and the kids are wonderfully self-sufficient. As a chapter book, the reading level is higher than Narnia, but your son will be listening not reading, so I think he will get it no problem. In fact, introducing it now may be good as one of the girls has a rather unfortunate name that would probably cause tittering in an older child.

    We also read them many other books: Swiss Family Robinson, Treasure Island, My Side of the Mountain, Tolkien, Dahl - Fantastic Mr. Fox was one of my favorites. The list goes on, but I will stop here.

    Enjoy your time reading together. It is all too fleeting.

    1. We're onto book three of Narnia ("The Lion..." being book two), "The Horse and His Boy," which I thought he was struggling with early on, but he's now doing OK with the longer chapters. We're also doing a Minecraft adventure, as it's something he can relate quickly to, and he is really fired up about the process of our nightly reading. We've already discussed where to go next, after Narnia, and that includes a lot of the above, plus Harry Potter. It's become a calming influence in his nightly life, for sure. And if I had the time to consider its effects on me, I'd probably say the same!