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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 22 December 2017
Warning this is not the BBC Radio produced version but the `Radio Theatre` Company version that the BBC many years after played on their station.Although still very good and with a great cast I didnt find this as magical or adventurous a version.
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on 11 October 2017
I definitely read these when I was younger, I can picture the box set we had in our house although I think it belonged to my brother rather than me. I also watched all the BBC adaptations when I was young, but have never seen the more recent movie versions. So my memories of Narnia overall were very vague: a wardrobe, a lion, winter, an evil queen, Turkish delight... That's about it. When this, what I still consider the first book in the series, came up on Kindle Daily Deal I thought I'd revisit.

Sadly, in this case, the adage "You can never go home again" more or less applies. Whatever magic Narnia held for me when I was younger, the actual writing and the age of the original work have not held up against time. The Christian allegory is not subtle. The children's behaviour is strangely starched and/or grown-up. The pace is so super-fast that some dramatic events are over so quickly you hardly get time to absorb them at all. I almost felt like if I blinked I would miss something, even in print.

The concept was charming enough and I may read the others if they come up cheap on Kindle in future, but I think I'm lacking enough nostalgia to be excited about continuing.
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on 20 April 2018
Yes, I’ve watched the films, who hasn’t? They’re great! But I had really fond memories of reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe when I was younger. And like the Pevensie children in the novel, I was drawn back!

This novel is by far the most popular in The Narnia Series, and it’s easy to see why. Published in 1950, it offers complete escapism for the reader; Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are evacuated from London to avoid the Blitz and are sent to a big house in the countryside. This is one location in the novel and the other, of course, is the magical world of Narnia.

Much of this story is etched into my memory from reading the books and watching the films but I did find one discover a part of the story (don’t worry, it’s not a spoiler) I’ve never really paid attention to before. It’s a conversation between Peter, Lucy, and Professor Digory Kirke, which goes like this:

“But there was no time,” said Susan. “Lucy had had no time to have gone anywhere, even if there was such a place. She came running after us the very moment we were out of the room. It was less than a minute, and she pretended to be away for hours.”

“That is the very thing that makes her story so likely to be true,” said the Professor. “If there really is a door in this house that leads to some other world (and I should warn you that this is a very strange house, and even I know very little about it) – if, I say, she had got into another world, I should not be at all surprised to find that the other world had a separate time of its own; so that however long you stayed there it would never take up any of our time. On the other hand, I don’t think many girls of her age would invent that idea for themselves. If she had been pretending, she would have hidden for a reasonable time before coming out and telling her story.”

I loved this part because you have two children worried about their little sisters sanity, only for a well respected Professor (and adult) to basically say, “Why not? Keep your minds open to other possibilities.” A great lesson for anyone reading this novel!

The writing style is very simple and easy to read which is such a difficult thing to achieve. I also really liked the little drawings scattered throughout the book. Overall, a brilliant story by C.S Lewis, and one which I feel has more than enough depth for adults and children to enjoy.
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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 11 October 2017
This is a beautiful little book. The cover is very pretty and the colours are nice. The illustrations inside are the original b/w sketches. This version is quite small (around 15x10 cm), which turned out to be perfect for my 6-year-old's hands. I'm delighted with this purchase.
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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 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 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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