Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" by C. S. Lewis

Cover art on the hardback edition.
Yes, I have two full sets. Is that a problem?
The Chronicles of Narnia have been beloved favorites of mine for so many years. I was first introduced to the series when I received a set for my ninth birthday. (Ah, and this time the books were a gift from my parents, so there are no bad memories of the giver attached.) Since then I have read each of the seven books more times than I can count, and it wasn't long before every re-read became as familiar, delightful and comforting as snuggling under a warm blanket on a rainy day.

There is something so magical about Narnia. Even more than enchantments and talking animals and dragons and adventures, I think what appeals to me most is the idea that a whole new world could be lurking in my closet. (I never had a wardrobe, and oh, I wish I had. It wouldn't even hurt my feelings much if it happened to be full of furs.) But just imagine what it must have been like for the four Pevensie children to discover a doorway into Narnia. I would have given anything to be Lucy! Or Jill. Or Aravis. Or Polly. Heck, I would have even done a stint as Eustace if it had resulted in a voyage on the Dawn Treader.

Now that you know how fond I am of Narnia, I'm sure you can picture my elation when Bookworm Child requested this series for bedtime reading. I would put these books on Bedtime Story Endless Loop if my kids could stand it. I had read the series to them before, but they were much smaller then, and I don't think they really remember it.

My original book. It's been well-loved.
Unfortunately, my elation soon turned to disappointment when Bookworm Child declared the story boring and decided not to listen. Boring! I don't understand. How could she? (I'm beginning to suspect she's a changeling.) The other two did hang around to listen, but I think this was mainly just because the youngest likes to cuddle and the oldest likes any excuse to stay up later.

All I can say about this is: what is wrong with my kids?? (I wonder what they do teach them at these schools.) You shouldn't be surprised, though, to hear I just kept right on reading. I think I was mainly reading for me. If all three kids had wandered off I probably would have continued reading it aloud to myself.

I walk a fine line in introducing all of these marvelous childhood stories to my children (not just the Narnia books, but others as well). On one hand, I want to make sure my kids have a chance to read (or at least hear) all of my old favorites. On the other hand, I wonder if I should allow them to discover these wonderful books on their own. What if Stacia hadn't known anything about Narnia until her ninth birthday, and then had read the stories to herself? If her experience had been more like mine, would she have loved the series like I do? As it is, I'm afraid she never will truly care for Narnia.

(*sheds a tear*)

I don't know if I can convince my kids that we need to read the rest of the series at bedtime. I'm not above bribing them. But I should probably draw the line at breaking out the duct tape.


Kristi said...

I totally bribe my children. No shame in that. I read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe to my boys (6 and 8) around Christmas and they really enjoyed it. I did it in an effort to get them to pick them up on their own and continue. It worked!

I hope your daughter comes to love them at some point, but she may just not like fantasy. I read the first one as a kid and thought it was just okay and never sought out the rest. I still really don't like fantasy books.

Andi said...

If it makes you feel any better, my stepkiddos feel the same way about Harry Potter and it just kills me. Ugg!

Kate said...

Believe it or not, I've never read The Chronicles of Narnia. I have a handful of students who find this appalling! I just added it to my list because if you love it this much, I'm sure to!

I love the idea of story time! My Mom and Dad did this with me, but we didn't do it as far as "chapter books"... or at least I don't think we did - I'll have to ask.

Vintage Reading said...

I feel your pain! My girls are teenagers now and they rarely move from Facebook/ipod/mobile to pick up a book. They did enjoy The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe when they were younger but they gave up on Prince Caspian.

Kathy said...

Kristi--Oooh, Christmas is the perfect time to read Lion! All the snow and cold . . . I'm so glad your boys enjoyed the books!

Andi--that would kill me too. The Harry Potter books are awesome!

Kate--I hope you love the Narnia books! While I appreciate the vote of confidence, I will keep my fingers crossed just in case. ;)

Nicola--Prince Caspian was always one of my less favorite books in the series. I'm hoping I can force my children to listen to it anyway. ;)

Sarah said...

I have read the books and I absolutely love them. I dont have any kids but when I do I hope that they will love them as much as I do. I haven't seen any of the movies but I heard that Voyage of the Dawn Treader comes out today on DVD. I was wondering if you have seen them and how do they compare? I have heard good things about them so far.

Kathy said...

Sarah, I think the three Hollywood movie adaptations they've done so far are absolutely beautiful. I highly recommend them . . . with a caveat. Don't expect them to be *exactly* like the books, or you will be disappointed. You can read a little more about my opinion here (scroll down to the bottom of the post to read about the movies), and I blogged about the Voyage of the Dawn Treader movie here. Good luck in deciding whether to watch them! I hope you watch them and love them.