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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 October 2015
I've just read this aloud in instalments to my eight-year-old daughter. At first, I had to get past her laughter at the "I say, rather!" way the characters speak. ("How OLD is this book, Mummy?") But there was a little intake of breath when she realised this was a fantasy world where the characters could actually get killed. And then she was hooked. And she was reading extra chapters under the bedclothes after I'd left the room.

First published in 1950, this is one of the most classic portal fantasies ever written. Four children are sent from London to an old house in the country during the evacuations of World War II. Through a magic wardrobe, they enter the fantasy land of Narnia, which is a jumbled mixture of Greek mythology, Bible stories, and Arthurian romances, with a bit of Medieval Bestiaries thrown in and also a nod to George Macdonald. The White Witch has made herself Queen of Narnia, and put it under the spell of an ever-constant winter. With the arrival of the children and the lion Aslan, an old prophecy is met, spring comes to Narnia, and there is a major clash between the good and evil Narnians on who gets to dominate Narnia.

It is good writing to read aloud, and I can see why decades of schoolteachers have done so to their classes, including my own Year 3 teacher when I was a child. It's also a good silent read for children on the 8+years level. I had to explain the Adam and Eve story to my daughter, but otherwise the child doesn't need to already know the rich layers of references within it, which fed my own subsequent reading for years and years when I was a child - I wanted to know more about all the creatures C.S. Lewis had referred to! (Though I never did find out who the People of the Toadstools were.....)

Re-reading it again as an adult, what struck me was the influence of World War II. I have no idea how much C.S. Lewis followed the events of the war from his academic enclave, or how aware he was of the atrocities in Europe. But certain bits of the imagery - the wolf who was Chief of the Secret Police and visited victims in the night to trash their homes; the White Witch casually pointing her wand at a happy little family party at the side of the road and turning them to stone, in spite of Edmund's pleas - felt connected to it. And unlike the stone spells, deaths caused by gunfire can not be reversed.

My daughter hasn't got that far in her history lessons yet.
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on 12 April 2017
One of my favourite books from my childhood, I was keen to read it with my daughter. And it repays re-reading - for a children's story it has surprising moral depth and complexity (or maybe not so surprising given its author).
One slight quibble I have with this edition is that, while Pauline Baynes' original illustrations are very nicely rendered (in colour) inside, the reproduction of the cover from the old Puffin edition (also her artwork) is a bit cheap-looking. I guess things have moved on here since 1998.
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on 27 February 2013
My son has been a book lover since birth, read to as a baby and is happy to sit reading at every opportunity but there are times that it is comforting to be read to, car journeys (for us there are at least an hour a day) are one of them.
Since we already have some audio books I know how relaxing it can be so decided to get some of the longer childrens classic stories in audio for my son.
This is the first (of what I'm sure will be many) and I have to say I'd forgotten what a lovely story it is, driving home while we were both in awe as Lucy finds the wardrobe and discovers Narnia and then having to sit parked up to finish the chapter, this is soon becoming loved by my son.
The thing with audio books is they don't take away from the writen paper versions, they compliment them giving you time to see them differently.
While this was purchased for a child I can't help but enjoy it myself.
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on 10 September 2016
Beautiful illustrations to support the famous story. All my pupils have been enamoured with this book and it is a class favourite. Variety of smaller images and larger ones that cover two pages. The 'evil' characters are not portrayed too scary either! Would definitely recommend for any classroom.
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on 3 January 2016
One of the first books that I had ever owned as a child- this edition is exactly as I remember my book as a kid.
A great story that never ages- a story for kids of all ages
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on 5 February 2014
This book is amazing and has inspired me to go as Lucy for world book day in March. I have watched some of the film and know I have read the book. I like the book better as it describes what happens better than the film. I have given this book a 5 Sat rating as it is one of the best I have ever read. Also because this book has excitement and fun in it and I really feel something when it happens. I would recommend this book to people who like stories which have a lot of imagination in it and to children over the age of 6 as it has some upsetting parts in it. I love this book.
Thank you for reading my review.
I hope it helped you a bit.
By Amy Beth Wright
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VINE VOICEon 5 August 2005
In contrast to the pointedly negative review posted before, I found that Michael York's unabridged reading of this well-loved book was a Narnia fan's dream come true. Michael York's voice is soothing, and reads the unabridged story in a convincing and soothing tone that does not sound at all condescending. He paces the story nicely. Hearing this dramatic and well-produced reading adds a wholly new dimension to the overall experience. The inspired choice of Michael York allows the story to unfold before your very eyes, as he paces his voice comfortably enough to make you follow along and be excited at the same time. The reading may take a long time, but York never sinks into a monotonous tone, and he also gives each character personality and depth. Particularly tellig is his satanic characterisation of the White Witch. He also avoids the tendency to make the children sound too cue or whiney. To sum everything up, this reading will be sure to capture the hearts and imaginations of anyone who listens to it, and will surely be prized highly in any Narnia lover's collection and also by those who have never heard of the Narnia stories.
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on 1 September 2017
Purchased for my five year old granddaughter, to read at our house, who I feel should now be educated in the land of Narnia - it is time (not for myself, really ... I promise!). It is stunning with beautiful illustrations.
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on 5 December 2016
Lovely pictures - my children appreciated these. A child-friendly version, which sounds odd but with very young kids there are still scenes in the book that are frightening, and these are handled well here without detracting from the tone of the original.
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on 29 April 2015
Absolutely wonderful and fabulous illustrations. It is of course an abridged version of the original, but a simply beautiful presentation, plus quality of paper and cover. Made a fab gift for grandchildren. A little warning - it was too scarey for my 4 year old grandson (I should have realised), and he woke that night worried about witches. The seven year old loved it, and continues to do so.
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