Bonita Jewel’s Review:
“The Chronicles of Narnia” is a classic series that never grows old. I repeatedly read the series when I was young and couldn’t wait until my kids were old enough to read it with them.
Jessica and I read the books when she was six; I couldn’t tell you how many times she has read it since then. At least once a year. Probably more. I went through the series two years later with my son Allen, when he was six and seven.
My youngest, Aiden, is now seven, and we just finished reading The Magician’s Nephew, the sixth Narnian Chronicle that C.S. Lewis wrote, but the first in chronological order of the story itself. Jessica and I had a couple of conversations as to which story we wanted to review first. We’re starting with The Magician’s Nephew because we like things in order of chronology, although when I read the stories, I loved being surprised by reading it sixth, and learning of Narnia’s origin’s and the wardrobe’s back story after already diving into the world of Aslan.
In The Magician’s Nephew, a girl named Polly Plummer lives in a house joined to a row of houses. Next door to Polly lives an elderly brother and sister she knows as Mr. and Miss Ketterley. One morning, she sees a boy in the garden next door. A boy who looks like he had been crying. His name is Digory, and Andrew Ketterly is his uncle. Digory’s mother is near death, and his father is away in India.
Digory and Polly, exploring the attics one day, accidentally enter crazy Uncle Andrew’s study. He offers Polly a yellow ring, and as soon as she takes it, she disappears. Uncle Andrew, a self-proclaiming magician, tells Digory that Polly has gone to another world, and that if he wants to see her again, he must follow to bring her back.
With a yellow ring of his own, Digory finds himself and Polly in a place they call the “Wood between the Worlds,” a growing, living forest with trees and dozens of natural pools. With the green rings Uncle Andrew sent, the two friends can return to London, but Digory wants to explore the pools. What if each one leads to a new world?
The children find themselves in an aging world about to die … and in another world drawing its first breaths, a scene describe with lyrical beauty. But Digory brings evil from the old world into the new one. He must make things right again, when what he really wants is to make his mother well again. Digory fears that a powerful Creator who clearly can heal his mother might choose not to. The boy must decide whether to trust. And follow.
Recommended age: Six and up. The content might be okay for children younger than six; some younger kids might not express an interest in such a long story, and the subject matter might be difficult for them to follow.
Re-readability: Highly re-readable!
Jessica Rose’s Review:
The Magician’s Nephew is the first book of the “Chronicles of Narnia.” In the order that C.S. Lewis wrote them, it is the sixth. You can start with any one of the books but this one tells of the beginning of Narnia. It is a adventure that will take you from this world into three others along with Polly and Digory.
The story begins with Polly Plummer in the time that “Mr. Sherlock Holmes was still living in Baker Street … and as for sweets … how cheap and good they were.” Polly is in the back garden when Digory Kirke the nephew of the Ketterleys appears over the fence, his mother is dying, his father is away, he had to leave his beautiful home, and his uncle is most likely mad (the crazy kind). Polly intending to cheer him up tells him about her hideout that connects all the houses. They decide to sneak into the empty house, however, they make a miscalculation-and their adventures begin!
The attic they enter is not empty in fact it is the very attic that Digory’s aunt told him not to go into-Uncle Andrew’s study. Uncle Andrew lets them go out although he wanted them to stay but first he offers Polly a pretty ring. As soon as Polly puts on the ring she disappears (it is not the One Ring that Bilbo finds in The Hobbit). Digory is forced by his uncle to go after her and find her so that he can give her the return ring and when he arrives at the place he finds himself in a wood.
It is not any wood for it does not have any inhabitants and is filled with many, many pools. Polly and Digory call it the Wood Between the Worlds for that is exactly what the pools are-different worlds. As the adventure continues they explore two different world one that is dying and one that is bursting with life, enough life to grow a toffee tree from toffee that is in Polly’s pocket as they find out. However, there is also evil that lurks in one world that rises and arrives at their world.
The Magicians Nephew shows the importance of resisting temptation, doing the right thing, and repenting when you don’t.
Re-readable: Yes I have read it uncountable times and the series is amazing.
Recommended age: 7-107