The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (by CS Lewis)

Of all the many books I've read, CS Lewis must rank amongst my ten favourite authors, and also - which isn't necessarily the same - one of the writers who has most influenced my thinking. I began, as so many people do, with his Narnia series when I was probably about seven or eight. I re-read them regularly, although it took me a few years to understand the most obvious Christian allusions. I read them in my late teens, and then read them aloud to my sons.

I very much enjoyed the BBC Chronicles Of Narnia episodes in the 1980s, although they look rather dated now, and I also enjoyed the The Chronicles Of Narnia - The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe film in 2005, which is probably the last time I went to a cinema. But for some reason, I hadn't sat down and re-read 'The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe' for many years; possibly since I read it with my younger son in 1993.

What a wonderful book it is! The story is well-known: the Pevensie children are evacuated to an old house in the country, and Lucy - the youngest - discovers the magical land of Narnia which is under a curse of perpetual winter. Her brother Edmund is next to find it, but he's not a very nice boy, and falls into the clutches of the evil witch who calls herself the queen. Finally, Peter and Susan also find themselves in Narnia, pitched into a tremendous battles between good and evil.

It was written as a story for children, and works extremely well as such, even sixty years after first publication. But it also works as a pointer to Jesus (in the Aslan figure) and a parable about redemption.

CS Lewis's own Christian faith shines through his writing, both fiction and non-fiction - and yet 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' can be read simply as an exciting fantasy adventure. Lewis doesn't make the mistake of pushing his beliefs, or (worse) explaining them, so it can be enjoyed by those of other faiths, or none.

Intended for children of about eight and above, it can be enjoyed as a read-aloud by those rather younger, and by teens or adults of any age . Very highly recommended, if there is anyone left in the world who has not read this children's classic.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 23rd November 2010

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