Book review

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis (1950)

You may have already heard of Narnia before you start to read this book.

If you are lucky enough to find your way into Narnia, you will discover that it is a wonderful place for adventures of all kinds, with animals and fairy creatures of all kinds. But, be careful how you behave while you are in Narnia because you will have to account for all your doings!

Can anyone go to Narnia? Yes, of course. There are numberless doors into the kingdom, but you must find your own door. In this book, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy hide in a wardrobe, and when they push their way past the fur coats hanging inside, and keep on pushing, they finally pop out in a mysterious, snow-covered forest, deep in the heart of Narnia.

Well, Lucy stumbles in first, on her own. She's a happy little thing, willing to think the best of everyone, and she meets Mr Tumnus the faun, who invites her home to tea. They have a lovely time, and only when it is time to leave does Mr Tumnus reveal his dilemma:

"Would you believe that I'm the sort of Faun to meet a poor innocent child in the wood, one that had never done me any harm, and pretend to be friendly with it, and invite it home to my cave, all for the sake of lulling it asleep and then handing it over to the White Witch?"
"No," said Lucy. "I'm sure you wouldn't do anything of the sort."
"But I have," said the Faun.
"Well," said Lucy rather slowly (for she wanted to be truthful and yet not be too hard on him), "well, that was pretty bad. But you're so sorry for it that I'm sure you will never do it again."

Mr Tumnus is obviously influenced by Lucy's forgiving response, because he lets her go, and even sees her back to the wardrobe door, but when Edmund stumbles into Narnia he has a completely different experience. He is in a bad mood, full of spite against his brother and sisters, and he meets the evil White Witch, who extracts a terrible promise from him.

So by the time all four children arrive in Narnia together there is quite a mess to tidy up. The White Witch, with her ally Edmund, has Narnia in her icy grip, but she has a tireless foe, Aslan, the greatest of Lion Kings.

It's a great adventure. I'm sure you'll love it.

What can I read next?

This story is part of the Chronicles of Narnia. It is the first one that C S Lewis wrote, and perhaps the best known of all, but the recommended sequence to read them in is this:

  • The Magician's Nephew
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • The Horse and His Boy
  • Prince Caspian
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  • The Silver Chair
  • The Last Battle

Does Aslan remind you of anyone? Perhaps you would be interested to read my short article on the Chronicles of Narnia?

If you love fantasy adventures, there are plenty of others to choose from! You might like to look at anything by E Nesbit, (and she wrote a lot of books):

If you fancy something written in a slightly more modern but still quite simple style, you could look at anything by Stephen Elboz

Or Robert C O'Brien's super rats might catch your imagination:

Also, the Bookchooser has found these books with a similar profile:

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