“The Magician’s Nephew” by C.S. Lewis

After I finished reading The Mouse and his Child to 5yo Guppy and nearly 8yo Drake, I cast about for another book, and when I said “Narnia” Drake perked right up. I was torn between reading them in the order I read them growing up, which was chronological by publishing date. But I have a hardcover set that puts them in order by the events of the story. Since Drake can be a stickler for things like that, and I didn’t feel like arguing, we started with the book labeled 1, The Magician’s Nephew; the story takes place before that in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

A young boy named Digory moves to his aunt and uncle’s house in London when his mother falls ill. He makes friends with Polly, the girl who lives next door, and they discover that Digory’s uncle is trying to find ways to travel among worlds. The uncle tricks the children into exploring for him, and their adventures include a dying world, a wicked witch, a just-created world, talking animals and much more. Christian allegory, which I didn’t recognize so clearly when I read this as a child, abounds. It is a solid adventure story featuring interesting child protagonists confronted with a variety of moral and ethical dilemmas. There is some humor, but it was more apparent to me, the adult reading the book, than to my young children who listened to it. I enjoyed revisiting the book. Their verdicts? Drake said he liked it and was interested in the next book. Guppy was grumpy, and said he did not, so I may have picked a(nother) book he’s not yet ready for. I’ll keep trying. Next up is Neil Gaiman’s Odd and the Frost Giants.

2 Responses to ““The Magician’s Nephew” by C.S. Lewis”

  1. inquirer Says:

    A friend of mine, a noted Lewis scholar, says to always read Narnia in the order they were originally published. After listening to many a lecture on the subject, i have to agree. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is the most magical. The Magician’s Nephew and The Last Battle are the most difficult of the series and deal with some very “grown-up” issues that can be better explored and understood after reading the rest of the series. I urge you to try them again … the way Lewis intended them to be read.

  2. girldetective Says:

    Good to have that affirmation. I think it’s almost always the case to read them in the order published (or at least, written, since many of the Austen/Bronte novels were written and published out of order). I may wait a bit, though, and try for some deliberately younger-skewing stuff to capture both the 5 and nearly 8yo.