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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.