The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
by C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis's classic children's fantasy story is a favorite of many readers. I am one who was hooked at a very young age. When my father read it to the family, I was just 7 years old, and I remember the sense of wonder I felt when I recognized the symbolism in the story — it was a retelling of the story I heard in Bible class every Sunday!
For some more sophisticated readers, this obvious symbolism (let's face it, it's pretty much an allegory) has been the target of criticism. In fact, you can count Lewis's good friend J. R. R. Tolkien among those who disliked The Chronicles of Narnia for just this reason. And among purists in the fantasy genre, that critical view of the series is still rather widespread.
But amongst the body of avid Christian readers, there's hardly a fictional series more well-loved than Lewis's Narnia books. Many Christians introduce it to their kids at a very young age, just like my dad did. And many kids get sucked right into that world, just like I did. In fact, I loved the books so much as child that I read the whole series just about once per year.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is the first book in the series of seven. In it, we meet the Pevensie kids, and with them, we meet Aslan and the fantastic world he has created. The country we enter in that world is Narnia, and it is peopled with all manner of fantastic creatures. But make no mistake, despite their odd shapes, there is no question that this land is peopled. Their animal bodies aside, these are people in every way equal to their human counterparts. (Well, if you overlook the fact that pretty much all of the monarchs in this parallel world are human.)
In Narnia, we find a world where it is always winter, but never Christmas. It is in this state as a part of a spell cast over the land by the White Witch. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe details for us her fall, and the return of both Christmas and spring to the land.
If you like mythological creatures and parallel worlds, and if you don't mind it all being couched in a Christian allegory, then this is definitely the book for you. It will usher you into another world, and introduce you to the remaining 6 tales in the series.
Reviewed by Shelly Bryant © 2009
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a fantasy novel for children by C. S. Lewis. Written in 1950 and set in approximately 1940, it is the first-published book of The Chronicles of Narnia and is the best known book of the series. Although it was written and published first, it is second in the series' internal chronological order, after The Magician's Nephew. Time magazine included the novel in its TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005. Lewis dedicated the book to his god-daughter, Lucy Barfield.