book bonanza – the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe

Dec 27, 2010


We started reading The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe last night for our next family read-aloud. This is one of our favorite books and we have read it many, many times. Blythe was obsessed by the Narnia series back when she was about six and it became a huge part of our lives. I think this is the first time I have read it aloud to Fisher when he was old enough to actually be paying attention. Of course, he already knows the story, so it isn’t new to him, but he hasn’t heard it with my voices. When my children are grown, I want them to be able to hear my voice in their minds and remember all the hours their mother spent reading to them. I want them to carry this tradition to their own homes and fill my grandchildren’s lives with the love of literature. I want them to realize that while I may have lost my patience more than they liked or didn’t cook all the time or didn’t keep my bedroom clean, that I did take the time to read to them.

I remember the first time I heard of the Narnia books. One of my elementary teachers read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to us and I decided right away that I hated the book. I hated the cover of it and must have decided right then and there to not listen to a word of it because I had no memory of the story line when I started reading them with Blythe.

When I think of how judgmental I was and how I missed out on the wonderfulness of Narnia, it breaks my heart. I can’t believe I was so turned off by the cover of something that I refused to listen to the beauty of the words. Now that the world of Narnia is such vital aspect of our family culture, I can’t even imagine my life without it. I can’t imagine teaching my children about God without the imagery of Aslan to draw on. I can’t imagine teaching them about evil and temptation and death and courage and faith and hope and miracles and war and resurrection without the symbolism of these books. And yet, I rejected them as a child.

And then I realized that perhaps I have done this with things other than books. Perhaps I have done it with people. Perhaps I have shut off my heart to the beauty of another soul simply because their outer covering isn’t all that appealing.

And it breaks my heart even more.

Every time I pick up The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe I remember this lesson and I vow to do better. I vow to be more open, to be more loving, to be more inviting to the people around me.

But, enough of me, and back to why we love this book so much. In my mind, C.S. Lewis created Narnia for children for many reasons. First, he wanted children to have a wonderful set of books that they could immerse themselves in and find themselves in. He wanted them to see courage in action, to see treachery and magic and forgiveness and love. He wanted them to find goodness in themselves. Secondly, he wanted to teach them about God in a way they could understand his majesty, his love, and his redemptive powers.

The books are exciting enough to draw readers of all ages in, simple enough that anyone can understand them, and deep enough that each read will bring new insights to the reader.

All of this adds up to the perfect classic.

If you haven’t read them lately, perhaps it is time to immerse yourself in the world of Aslan for a while…who knows what treasures might await you there. If you are looking for the copy we have, it is this one. I wish I had the whole set of them in these large, hardcover versions, but we only have the first two. Maybe someday I will run across them in some forgotten corner of a dusty bookstore…one can always hope, right?

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