Bonita Jewel’s Review:
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is the most well-known book in Lewis’ Narnian chronicles. I remember watching a cartoon based on the novel when I was no more than four years old. I was horrified by the scene that showed the death of Aslan. I ran from the room, crying. How could those monsters kill the good Lion? Even as a young child, I knew there was something terribly wrong with that lion dying.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe begins with Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, four siblings, traveling from London to the countryside. To have a safe place to stay during World War II, they are sent to the grand home of an old professor. [Fun fact: Youths actually stayed with C. S. Lewis and his brother in the country during WWII.]
One rainy day, the children are playing hide-and-seek, and Lucy ducks into a wardrobe. Feeling for the back of the wardrobe, she keeps stepping further into it, but finds herself in a winter wood.
She meets a curious character, a Fawn named Mr. Tumnus, and discovers she is in a land called Narnia. She joins him for tea but when she returns through the wardrobe to the professor’s house, no one believes her, no time at all has passed, and the wardrobe is nothing but a wardrobe.
Edmund follows Lucy into the wardrobe one day, and discovers a different side of Narnia. He meets a beautiful and fierce queen who gives him a delicious warm drink and magically makes his favorite treat appear: Turkish Delight. She tells him she has a castle with rooms full of Turkish Delight, and promises him a position of power at her side. He just needs to return to Narnia with his brother and two sisters, whom this queen seems to show a keen interest in.
In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C. S. Lewis explores the consequences of decisions, forgiveness, and redemption.
Recommended age: Six and up. This series welcomes discussion with younger children about sin, forgiveness, and Christ’s sacrifice to bring redemption.
Re-readability: Highly recommended on a regular basis.
Jessica Rose’s Review:
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe was the first book C.S.Lewis wrote in this series. It is often the first one read and is the most well-known among all seven.
Four siblings are sent to a professor’s house to be safe from the air raids in London. Any uncertainty or fear about the large, strange house vanishes almost as soon as they arrive. The professor is the sort of chap that would let you do anything, and as long as they didn’t disturb the housekeeper they could go almost anywhere. There would be stags, and badgers, and foxes to find in the woods nearby. However, when the first morning dawns, they hear the unmistakable sound of rain.
The siblings Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy decide to explore the giant house. Who wants to sit around moping when there is a whole house to explore. There are spare rooms, hallways, a harp in a room of green, a suit of armor, libraries with books bigger then the Bible. The siblings are ecstatic, room after room after room they explore together until they reach a spare room, all it has is a giant wardrobe and a dead blue-bottle on the window sill. The rest leave but Lucy steps into the wardrobe, as she walks through it she finds it is much larger then she thought, she must have passed hundreds of coats by now, but as she goes on she finds herself in a wood. It cannot be the professor’s lawn, for instead of the bright sunshine of summer or the rain that drove them inside, there is snow – and a lot of it. Lucy gets to explore the woods after all.
She encounters a faun (not the young deer type) and soon they become friends. Lucy, after spending hours in that land called Narnia, quickly returns to the wardrobe so that no one will worry. When she catches up to her siblings, they say they have just come out of the room a moment ago so Lucy could not have been gone for hours. They are then convinced that she is making up a story after they show her the back of the cupboard.
One time Edmund follows Lucy into the wardrobe and meets the “queen” of Narnia. She is very interested in the fact that he has one other brother and two sisters. The queen promises Edmund that she will make him a prince and he will have rooms full of his favorite sweet if he bring his siblings to her castle as well. After the queen leaves, Lucy is overjoyed to find that Edmund has come to Narnia as well. She tells him some stories about the cruel witch who calls herself the queen of Narnia and makes it always winter and never Christmas. When they return, Edmund assures Peter and Susan that Lucy’s world is fake and they were just playing a little game. But soon they all discover Narnia.
Lucy’s friend is taken captive. An ancient prophecy is revealed. A traitor is in their midst. The witch’s spell is breaking. Aslan is on the move. But what is the cost of a traitor redeemed? Who can pay the dreadful price?
The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe contains an amazing parallel to the story of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.
Recommended age: 6-106
Re-readable: Most definitely!