Narnia has always held a special place in my heart. Other than Winnie the Pooh and Alice in Wonderland, the Chronicles of Narnia were my first introduction to the chapter book. I have fond memories of sitting on my Dad's lap as he read them aloud to me when I was young, and more fond memories of reading them again (and in some cases, again) to myself as I grew older. Not only did they start my life long obsession with all things both medieval and fantastic, but C.S. Lewis' picture of God, as expressed in the character of Aslan, has often guided my own ideas about God. "He's not at all a tame lion, you know." While the stories of the Bible, especially of Jesus, can be strange a puzzling to a young child, what young child doesn't want to visit Mr. Tummus, have dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, and get to ride on Aslan's back and nuzzle their head in his soft mane?
You can imagine how excited I was when Andrew decided he wanted to read them, and actually had the attention span and comprehension to enjoy them! To be honest, I did bribe him a little. I promised I would let him watch the first two movies after he read the books, and that we would go and see The Voyage of the Dawn Treader together at Christmas. But once he started into the books he was hooked.
He had to find out what happened to Mr Tumnus. He wanted to know if the White Witch would die and how the children would get back to earth. As we finished the first book, he said, "How do you think they get into Narnia in the next book, Mom?". He wanted all the books pulled down off the shelf and he has been walking around with them asking me to explain every illustration in every book (I only read the Last Battle once, so I don't actually remember anything about it, except being disappointed at how little Lucy was in it). So we're already six chapters in to Prince Caspian and he's begging for more.
Funniest of all, he decided to use his Playmobil to do a Narnia set-up. About five minutes in, after Peter and Edmund and Caspian had been properly armoured, and the plastic lion had been fished out of the animal bin, he complained, "Mom, we don't have any fauns or centaurs or minotoars. How am I supposed to do a Narnia set up without fauns? And we don't have any girls. Or dwarfs . .. ".
In any case, I'm glad to say that as an adult, Lewis' writing still mesmerizes. He really was a master of creating just enough drama and suspense to keep children interested without being too scary. He often describes things carefully, but in just enough detail so that you have to fill in with your imagination. They are wonderful books, and I'm glad to be reading them again.