by C.S. Lewis
Lucy, Susan, Edmund and Peter are spending the summer in the English countryside with a reclusive Professor. They hope to make the most of their time their by exploring the fields and meadows beyond the house, but the rain keeps them inside their first day there. While playing a game of hide and seek, Lucy, the youngest, chooses to hide in a wardrobe. As she hides further behind the coats, she discovers that she is no longer brushing against coats, but against tree branches. She has found her way to Narnia, a magical land under enchantment from an evil Witch that makes it winter all the time but never Christmas. Although her sister and brothers doubt her story at first, (even after Edmund sees the world himself he still denies her story to their siblings), they all eventually take refuge in the wardrobe to get away from the housekeeper and stumble into Narnia together. The children run into a friendly Beaver, who gives them shelter and sustenance while telling them about how the great Lion, Aslan, is rumored to have returned to reverse the Witch’s enchantment, and it turns out the four children have a very important role to play in the future of Narnia.
“The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis is the second book in “The Chronicles of Narnia” series, though it was actually published before the first book in the series (The Magician’s Nephew). The story and the characters in the story almost seem to go through a rapid aging process. The story starts with the adventures of Lucy, the youngest sibling and, perhaps because of her age, the one with the greatest imagination. When listening to her story, the possibility that Narnia exists seems like a fantasy. As the older children are brought into the storyline, the land of Narnia seems to become more real because a greater number of people, and older people, now know of Narnia’s existence. Moreover, the adventures become more dangerous and demand more from the children. By the end of the story, the children have grown old, and Narnia’s existence is unquestionable. If adults believe the story, then it must certainly be true (and it is interesting to note that the eccentric old Professor believes the story from Lucy’s first experience in Narnia). Written for young adult readers, the adventures in this book offer exciting possibilities.
This book moves quickly, and I like that Lewis continues to make the occasional aside to share some secret plot piece directly with the reader. I was a bit shocked at the level of gruesome detail toward the end of the book, but I’ve definitely read more graphic descriptions in other young adult novels. Some of the plot points felt a bit glossed over, like Edmund’s betrayal and redemption, but I’m sure if I spent a bit more time analyzing it I would find plenty of content. Overall, this book is fun and easy to read.