The Magician’s Nephew: Book Review

November 16th, 2014 by

magicians-nephewUnless you crawled through a magical piece of furniture and accidentally transported yourself to another land where you’ve been living as royalty after defeating an evil queen, then you’re probably familiar with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. You know, that book about Narnia.

But did you know that Lucy, Edmund, Peter, and Susan were not the first children of our world who traveled to Narnia and met Aslan? In fact, two other kids were actually there when Narnia was created — and if you want to know their story, you should read The Magician’s Nephew.

It’s sometimes listed as Book 1 in the Chronicles of Narnia because it’s about the earliest events in Narnia’s history, and it’s sometimes listed as Book 6 because it was the sixth book in the series to be published. But either way, it’s the prequel to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and all the adventures that followed.

The magician’s nephew in question is a boy named Digory. One afternoon he and his friend, Polly, stumble upon his uncle performing secret experiments — and they soon become unwilling participants. Through Uncle Andrew’s magic, they find themselves sucked into a strange in-between place that houses portals to many mysterious worlds. As you’ve probably already guessed, one of these portals takes Digory and Polly to Narnia.

Of course, it’s not that simple — no good story ever is! Before going to Narnia, Polly and Digory visit another land, where they meet the power-hungry and murderous Queen Jadis. How can they stop her from conquering our own planet? How do they make their way to Narnia? And what is their own experience with Aslan? Just like beloved Mr. Tumnus in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I’m not going to tell!

lion-witch-wardrobeBut if you can keep a secret, then I will admit that I’ve never read The Magician’s Nephew until now. It doesn’t get the same attention as the other Narnia books, so I never thought to pick it up. But I’m glad I did! It’s got a different feel from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: more old-fashioned and with less at stake, kind of similar to a fable — and that makes perfect sense because it takes place decades earlier than the next Narnia story, and it is sort of a fable about the beginning of the Narnian world.

The different approach to storytelling didn’t bother me at all. I especially appreciated that it’s a funnier book than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. And Narnia fans will be delighted to come across details that they’ll recognize from the later stories. For example, did you ever wonder why there’s a lamp-post in Narnia? You’ll find the explanation in The Magician’s Nephew!

Are you a Narnia fan? Maybe you’ve already read this book (and the rest of the series)? Let me know in the comments!

— Karen

You probably know by now that Karen loves food, so it won’t surprise you to learn that her favorite part of The Magician’s Nephew is the toffee tree. Intrigued? You should be.

More about Karen »

Voyage of the Dawn Treader Movie Review

December 20th, 2010 by

It’s the final trip to Narnia for the Pevensie children in the new movie The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, based on the book by C.S. Lewis. And it’s certainly an amazing adventure for THEM — but is it worth the journey for YOU, the moviegoer? Nancy and Karen aren’t so sure…

Watch our video review to find out what we liked and what we didn’t like, and whether we’d recommend climbing aboard — or jumping ship:

(PS – If you’re on the go — say, sailing the seas of a magical kingdom — don’t worry, you can still listen to our review. Just download the audio.)

Have you seen the new Narnia movie? Leave a comment with YOUR review! How do you think it compared to the book and the earlier films?

Kings of the Jungle Are Super Ferocious AND Adorable!

November 19th, 2009 by

I wonder if Aslan and the Cowardly Lion could be related... hm, probably not.

Could they be related? ... Probably not.

I’ve always liked that lions are kings of the jungle. The way I see it, the jungle is a wild and crazy place, so I appreciate that there’s some order in it. It always made sense that the leader of Narnia (Aslan) was a wise lion.  The Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz Well, he eventually comes around. 😉

Speaking of lions, I wanted to share this online video sensation with you (WARNING: cheesy music to follow!):

Isn’t that just adorable? (To be honest, the first time I watched it I was a little afraid it’d get gory…)

Have you guys read any other books with notable lions in them? And are they more like Aslan or the Cowardly Lion?

— Nancy

Kidsmomo Podcast #5: “Just a Sweet, Sweet Fantasy, Baby”

September 21st, 2009 by

This week, reading fantasy series causes Nancy to question reality and Karen to talk abnormally fast. Plus, we discuss ginormous animals, a secret world under New York City, and endless feasts. If that sounds like a fantasy come true to you, then check out our latest podcast!

    Listen Now:
    Download the MP3 (3.9 MB)

  • Our featured fantasy series — oh, yeah, and Harry Potter too

And when you’re done listening, don’t forget: our next theme is books that have been made into movies! So watch our latest Mystery Book Theater video and check out these great books that have made it to the big screen.

— Nancy and Karen

Book Trailer: The Chronicles of Narnia

September 14th, 2009 by

This book trailer for the Chronicles of Narnia was originally the Mystery Book Theater video for our Fantasy Series theme. For more on the Chronicles of Narnia, check out our “Sweet, Sweet Fantasy” podcast.

Seeing someone with your own eyes? Talking in person? What is this, the Stone Age? Sure, computers didn’t even exist back when C.S. Lewis wrote the Chronicles of Narnia — but what if they had?

Check out our web-centric re-imagining of a scene from the first book in the series, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.