I have two favourite books that I still remember vividly from childhood: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Secret Garden. I chose the former for this prompt, although, if I get time, I am going to try to re-read The Secret Garden as well.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is special to me because I have a vivid recollection of my Dad reading it me and my brothers and sisters on Christmas Eve. My Dad now has dementia and no longer recognises any of his family, so I guess I treasure this memory even more. It is the book I have re-read most often, both as a child and an adult.
I have really enjoyed reading this both for myself and to my classes. It always gives me great pleasure to see children fall in love with this magical story. I even had a boy last year who got his Mum to buy the whole series so he could read it over Christmas.
The story begins with four children, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy who are evacuated from London to a large house in the countryside during the Second World War. On a wet day, the children are stuck inside and decide to explore the house. They soon find a room containing a large wardrobe. The youngest, Lucy, decides to explore the wardrobe, and finds herself wandering through fur coats and feeling fir trees instead. She enters the magical world of Narnia, a land trapped in an endless winter, but with no Christmas, by an evil White Witch who professes herself to be the Queen of Narnia. Once there, Lucy meets Mr Tumnus, a faun who, despite the danger to himself, hides her presence from the Witch.
Of course, none of the other children believe that Lucy has been to Narnia and Edmund is particularly mean and nasty to her, until he too finds himself there but, instead of meeting Mr Tumnus, he meets the White Witch who promises him more Turkish Delight and to make him King in return for bringing her his brothers and sisters.
When the four children find themselves in Narnia, they discover that Mr Tumnus has been taken by the White Witch. They are found by Mr and Mrs Beaver who take them to their home and tell them something of the history of Narnia. They also tell them that the mighty lion, Aslan is in Narnia and they are to meet him.
Edmund betrays the other children and goes to join forces with the White Witch whilst the rest of the children travel with the Beavers to meet Aslan. Even though the Queen’s reign seems to be coming to an end with the arrival of Spring, this makes her even more dangerous as she fights to retain her power and control over Narnia. Will the children have the courage to stand together and defeat the evil Queen?
I can’t not mention the wonderful collection of creatures in this story from the kind-hearted faun Mr Tumnus to the motherly Mrs Beaver to the polite giant Mr Rumblebuffin who all help this such a gorgeous story.
This is a magical story of good versus evil, of sacrifice and redemption and of taking responsibility for choices made and the growth that ensues. This story still makes me cry and smile, and feel content with the world. It is the perfect cosy read to curl up to and always reminds me why I love children’s stories.