Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C S lewis



2009, first published 1951

Edmund, Lucy, Peter and Susan are evacuated during World War II and have to stay with a strange professor and his dour housekeeper Mrs Macready.  Lucy hides in the wardrobe one day when they are playing hide and seek and stumbles into Narnia. No one believes her - and even Edmund, who follow her there on the second visit, denies Narnia’s existence.  Mrs Macready takes visitors on tours of the house and the children have to keep out of tier way. They all hide in the wardrobe and end up in Narnia, where it is always winter but never Christmas.  However, once thy have been there a short while, the snow and ice begin to melt and Father Christmas arrives.

Edmund becomes involved with the witch who resembles Hans Christian Andresen’s snow queen. On his first visit he has eaten Turkish delight and is addicted.   The other three have to get him free from the witch’s power.

There is some Christian symbolism that is uncomfortable for some readers:  the lion Aslan gives his life that Edmund might be saved. He rises from the dead.

Also, much seems predetermined.  A prophecy says that Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve will rule Narnia. Have the four come to Narnia merely to fulfil that prophecy?  Clearly this is why the witch wants to be rid of them all.  She wishes to rule over Narnia.

This is the first book that C S Lewis wrote in the series though chronologically it is the second story. The language is somewhat fresher in this novel than in the others and though there is still an omniscient author he is slightly less intrusive than in subsequent texts.

The book is 208 pages long, in blocked text with an adult but slightly larger than normal font. It is accompanied by line drawings.    

Sunday, April 4, 2021

The Magician’s Nephew by C S Lewis

 click on image to find on Amazon

2008, first published 1955  

fluent reader,  ages 9-11,  upper primary, classic, Lewis C S, classic, Narnia, fantasy, Christian,  

Digory’s strange uncle works away in his attic study. As Digory plays with Polly, a neighbour, they find their way into his uncle’s study.  Uncle Andrew has been dabbling with magic. Digory and Polly get involved and find themselves being transported to other worlds.  Because of Digroy’s curiosity, they manage to wake a witch whom they accidentally take with them first to their own world and then to the birth of Narnia.

Digory wonders whether the magical properties of Narnia can help save his dying mother.  But Aslan points out to him that he has already brought evil to the land of Narnia.  Aslan sends him on a mission to recover a fruit that will grow into a tree that will protect Narnia to some extent. The witch tempts him to return to his own world and use the fruit on his mother.

He resists this temptation as he knows he has already caused some problems in Narnia. His reward is that he does get to take some fruit home which cures his mother but does not make her immortal as it has the witch.  She only eats a small slice of it.  

He plants the rest of the fruit in the garden.  The tree grows rapidly and seems to have a connection with Narnia.  One day, by the time he is quite an old man, it falls down in a storm.  He makes a wardrobe from it.  We all know which one!

Christian symbolism is here as in all of the Narnia stories.  We have a creation story.  There is the fight between good and evil.  Digory is tempted by the witch to use the fruit for his own purposes.   

Polly’s role is understated. She does support Digory throughout even though at times there is tension between them.     

The book is in blocked text and uses an adult font.  A few illustrations are peppered throughout it. Though this is the first Narnia story chronologically it was the fifth and penultimate to be written.  The language in this one is very engaging and C S Lewis really communicates with his reader.             

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

  2012   teen, upper secondary   Key Stage 4, ages 14 -17, Dashner   James, science fantasy, thriller This is the second book in the Maz...