Monday, December 6, 2010

Review #77: The Chronicles of Narnia

Dad:  What books did we re-read as a family over the summer?
Kids:  Narnia!!!
Lily (age 7):  We called it the "Summer of Narnia."
Gracie (age 10):  On the first night, we made a big fort in the living room.
Isaac (age 12):  A big fort out of blankets.
Gracie:  We ate popcorn in the fort while we listened.
Isaac:  Dad made tickets for "The Summer of Narnia" and hid them all over.  We had to find them before we could go inside the fort.
Dad:  Before we talk about specific books, tell me about the series as a whole.
Gracie:  In each book, these kids travel from our world to a world called Narnia.
Lily:  I like all the exploring in the books.  One time they went in a boat to the End of the World.  One time they went underground to the center of the earth.
Dad:  Is it the same kids in every book?
Gracie:  Not in every book.  Sometimes there are new kids.
Dad:  Who is the one character that appears in every Narnia book.
Gracie:  Aslan!
Elijah (age 5):  He is a lion.
Gracie:  Narnia is the place where a lion is king.
Elijah:  If we ever get a lion for a pet, I would name it Aslan.
Dad:  There are seven books in the Chronicles of Narnia series.  But why don't you each choose one book, and then you can tell us about that particular book in the series.  Which one are you going to pick, Lily?
Lily:  "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe."  It is about a wardrobe.  And a witch.  And a lion.
Dad:  Ha ha ha...  Well, there's a good summary of the book's title.
Lily:  These four kids go to a house in the country.  Lucy goes into a wardrobe and comes into Narnia.  It is a place where animals can talk.  And the trees are alive.  And there was a faun!
Isaac:  Mr. Tumnus.  Goat man.
Lily:  Lucy went to the goat man's house, and they had tea.  And there is an evil witch who makes it always winter.
Gracie:  She enchants their brother Edmund by giving him Turkish Delight.
Lily:  They try to save him from the witch.  The beavers help them.
Isaac:  Mrs. Beaver tried to bring everything along on the trip.
Gracie:  "Thank heavens I brought the butter knife!"  She even tried to pack her sewing machine.  "You don't suppose my sewing machine will fit, do you?"
Lily:  The witch can turn people into stone with her wand.  But Aslan breathes on the stones and he makes the stone alive.  The animals turn back to how they were before because of his breath.
Dad:  What was your favorite part of the book?
Lily:  I like how you can get through the wardrobe into Narnia.
Dad:  Does it make you want to hunt around our house to see if there are any nooks that can take you places?
Lily:  Well...  I have tried to once.  In your closet.  It didn't work.
Gracie:  I've already checked in all the closets about twenty times.
Isaac:  Me too.  In my closet.
Dad:  You guys are only checking closets?  Maybe that's your problem.
Elijah:  I think a hidden place is behind the bookcase.
Dad:  Okay, next book...  Elijah's turn!  Which book are you going to pick?
Elijah:  "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader."
Dad:  What is the Dawn Treader?
Elijah:  It is a boat that was shaped like a dragon.
Dad:  Who was on the boat?
Elijah:  Reepicheep.  He is a mouse.  He likes to fight people with a sword.  I think Reepicheep is braver than me.
Dad:  Who else was on the boat?
Elijah:  King Caspian.  He wanted to go to the End of the World.
Dad:  What did they see on their way there?
Elijah:  A place where dreams come true.  Some dreams can be really scary.  They also found a dragon's cave.  Eustace was sleeping in the dragon's cave.  When he woke up, he turned into a dragon.  He put on a bracelet when he was a boy, and when he turned into a dragon it hurt because he grew.
Dad:  How did he stop being a dragon?
Elijah:  There were different kinds of skins on him, and he had to scratch them to get them off.  It didn't work very good when he did it.  But when Aslan did it, it worked better.  Then Eustace turned back into a boy.
Dad:  What are some other places they discovered?
Elijah:  There was a place where if somebody puts part of themself in the water, it turns to gold.  If you went swimming, you would turn to gold.  And there was a place with some people that were invisible.  One footed people.
Isaac:  Dufflepuds.
Gracie:  Elijah covered everything pretty good.  Wait!  The mermaid people!  They saw mermaid people, and Reepicheep thought they were declaring war.  So he freaked out and jumped into the water.
Dad:  What was your favorite part, Elijah?
Elijah:  I like it when Eustace turns into a dragon.
Dad:  Who's next?  What book are you going to pick, Isaac?
Isaac:  "The Silver Chair."  It is about finding a prince.  The lost prince of Narnia.
Dad:  Who are the kids in this book?
Isaac:  Eustace and Jill.  And there's also Puddleglum.  You can't forget Puddleglum!
Gracie:  Puddleglum is the best!
Elijah:  Puddleglum is my favorite character.  He is a webbed-hand and webbed-footed guy.
Isaac:  Puddleglum is a marshwiggle.  They are tall muddy people.  He is the most carefree of all the marshwiggles, which is kind of freaky because he is always looking on the downside.  He's always sad about stuff.
Dad:  Where do their adventures take them?
Isaac:  The first place they go is to the giants' castle.  But they had to escape.  They found out they were going to be made into pies for the Autumn Feast.  They tried to get out as fast as they possibly could.  Then they fell into this pit and met these people that live underground.  This is the Underworld.
Gracie:  There is no light there except dull gray.  And there is a huge, huge, huge underground lake.
Isaac:  The queen of the Underworld is a witch.  And the Silver Chair traps the prince under a spell.
Gracie:  "In Aslan's Name, let me go!"
Dad:  That is probably my favorite family reading moment EVER.  The first time we read these books together, a few years ago...
Gracie:  I was freaking out at that part.  I was jumping up and down.
Dad:  You were literally screaming out loud at the characters in the book, "Listen to him! Listen to him!"  You were so emotionally involved in the story.
Gracie:  This time, my favorite part was Puddleglum's speech.  "You might be right.  There might be no Aslan.  But I'm going to keep following him, even if he isn't real.  Even if we are making him up, he's way better than what you've got down here!"  Only, he said it way more dramatically than me.
Dad:  How about you Isaac?  What was your favorite part?
Isaac:  The snake lady.  The witch turns into a giant snake, and they have to try to kill her.
Dad:  Okay Gracie, you're up.  Final pick.
Gracie:  I am going to tell you about how Narnia starts.  It is in "The Magician's Nephew."  It is a prequel.
Dad:  Who are the kids in this one?
Gracie:  Digory and Polly.  Digory's Uncle Andrew gives them rings and they can travel to different worlds.  First they went into a dead world called Charn.  Queen Jadis was the empress there.  They rang a bell and woke her up.  She grabbed them, and they traveled back to our world.  They had to get her out of our world because she was destroying everything.  But instead of bringing her back into Charn, they accidentally brought her to Narnia.
Dad:  What happened when they landed there.
Gracie:  There was no Narnia yet.  But they heard singing, and then they got to see Aslan make the world of Narnia.
Elijah:  Aslan makes things grow by singing.  He can do anything.
Isaac:  They even made a taffy tree.  Anything you planted in the ground would grow.
Dad:  What was your favorite part of the book, Gracie?
Gracie:  They go to a big garden and pick an apple of youth from the tree of life.  Digory's mother is sick back home, and he has to get the apple of life to cure her.
Dad:  So what's the verdict?  Are you glad we spent the summer reading these?
Elijah:  If there weren't books about Narnia, we wouldn't know anything about Narnia.  I hope I will go there someday.
Dad:  What would you do there?
Lily:  I would go find the creatures and make friends.
Elijah:  I would go to the place where I could turn into a dragon.
Dad:  You would want to be a dragon on purpose?
Elijah:  Yeah.  I could fly.  I actually want to be in the suit of a dragon.
Dad:  Who is your favorite character from the series?
Gracie:  Puddleglum.
Isaac:  Puddleglum.  He's funny.
Elijah:  Reepicheep and Puddleglum.  Reepicheep is a fighter, and he would be on my team so I could fight bad guys with him.
Dad:  Do you like the movie versions?
Isaac:  The movies are great, but the books are even better.
Dad:  Are you excited about the next movie coming up?  "Dawn Treader" is out soon.
Isaac:  We are so going to that!

Aslan breathing on the Mr. Tumnus statue, by Lily

Reepicheep and Caspian aboard the Dawn Treader, by Elijah

Jadis and Digory by the apple tree, by Gracie

Puddleglum and Prince Rilian fight the serpent, by Isaac

Update:  Check out the site 5 Minutes For Books for our review of "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" movie!

Author: C. S. Lewis
Illustrator: Pauline Baynes
Published 1950-1956
Like them?  Here they are


gatheringwonder said...

oh, this is a marvelous review

Carrie said...

=D LOVE it, naturally.

Eatwiss said...

Nice job. We think that your blog is cool. We're reading Voyage of the Dawn Treader, too.

Heidi Noel said...

Love it. My husband studied these books at Oxford and visited C.S. Lewis sites. We read the books to our children and they named their brother Caspian. (He goes by his middle name though.) Big Narnia fans in our house. I am guessing it is time to reread them now that Caspian is older. Maybe we will have a Summer of Narnia next year.

Z-Kids said...

Great stuff Heidi! Love that you have a Caspian.

My wife and I went to Oxford five or six years ago (the kids didn't come). We ate at Lewis' hangout, the Eagle and Child. We also toured his home -- and we did it while eating Turkish Delight that our friends picked up in the actual country of Turkey a few weeks before. Another friend there with us has a son named Rilian. I suspect these books play a big role in lots of people's lives. Great to hear how they did in yours!


Jo-Ann said...

great reviews. I love Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Maybe I need to have a winter of Narnia!!

Lisa said...

Great reviews and pictures--But I must say my favorite part is: The tickets for "The Summer of Narnia" hidden "all over" for your children to find, the fort AND the popcorn!-->So awesome! Makes me want to make our own "The Winter of ____Something_____" and curl up with some good books with my family...Thanks for the idea! I'll have to think about what worlds/themes/authors we can explore, like you did.

Rebecca Gomez said...

Fabulous! I love the Narnia books too! I should read them again with my kids. It's been a long time.

Anonymous said...

This is my new favourite blog. It is absolutely brilliant!!

Unknown said...

When I am a parent, I am so doing this. Love it all: the fort, the tickets... just wonderful! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi! I love these books! My favorite book in the Narnia Series is The Magician's Nephew. I like it because it all starts out like that. I think they should make a movie out of that one. But I actually liked The Horse and His Boy, too come to think of it. I guess I kind of liked them because they took you from the adventures of the Pevensies... and cousins... and cousin's schoolmates...
Anyway, I love these books.
My friend and I made two websites: one for older kids books, called Bookworm's Nook, at, and one for younger kids, called Junior Nook (which is a work-in-progress), at